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Desert Islands 

and Other Texts 


Gilles Deleuze 



Desert Islands 

and Other Texts 


Copyright © 2004 Semiotext(e) 
All rights reserved. 

©2002 Les editions de Minuit, 7, rue Bernard-Palissy, 75006 Paris. 


2571 W. Fifth Street 501 Philosophy Hall 

Los Angeles, CA 90057 Columbia University New York, NY 10027 

Distributed by The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. and London, England 

Special thanks to fellow translators in this volume: Christopher Bush, Charles Stivale and Melissa 
McMahon, Alexander Hickox, Teal Eich. Other translations are indebted to David L. Sweet, Jarred Baker, 
and Jeanine Herman's versions previously published in Felix Guattari's Chaosophy (NewYork: 
Semiotext(e), 1995). Lysa Hoohroth's first translations of Deleuze's articles on Hume, Kant, and 
Bergson, subsequently reviewed by Elie During, were also invaluable. 

Special thanks to Giancarlo Ambrosino, Eric Eich, Teal Eich, Ames Hodges, Patricia Ferrell, Janet Metcalfe 
for their close reading and suggestions. 

The Index was established by Giancarlo Ambrosino. 

Cover Photo: Jean-Jacques Lebel. 
© Jean-Jacques Lebel archive, Paris 

Design: Hedi El Kholti 

ISBN: 1-58435-018-0 

Printed in the United States of America 

Desert Islands 

and Other Texts 


Gilles Deleuze 

Edited by David Lapoujade 
Translated by Michael Taormina 



7 Introduction 

9 Desert Islands 

15 Jean Hyppolite's Logic and Existence 

19 Instincts and Institutions 

22 Bergson, 1859-1941 

32 Bersson's Conception of Difference 

52 Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Precursor of Kafka, Celine, and Ponse 

56 The Idea of Genesis in Kant's Esthetics 

72 Raymond Roussel, or the Abhorrent Vacuum 

74 How Jarry's Pataphysics Opened the Way for Phenomenolosy 

77 "He Was my Teacher" 

81 The Philosophy of Crime Novels 

86 On Gilbert Simondon 

90 Humans: A Dubious Existence 

94 The Method of Dramatization 

117 Conclusions on the Will to Power and the Eternal Return 

128 Nietzsche's Burst of Laushter 

131 Mysticism and Masochism 

135 On Nietzsche and the Image of Thought 

143 Gill es Deleuze Talks Philosophy 

146 Gueroult's General Method for Spinoza 

156 The Fissure of Anaxagoras and the Local Fires of Heraclitus 

162 Hume 

170 How Do We Recognize Structuralism? 

193 Three Group- Related Problems 

204 "What Our Prisoners Want From Us..." 

206 Intellectuals and Power 

214 Remarks (on Jean-Franoois Lyotard) 

21 6 Deleuze and Guattari Fight Back... 

230 Helene Cixous, or Writing in Strobe 

232 Capitalism and Schizophrenia 

242 Your Special "Desiring-Machines": What Are They? 

244 H.M.'s Letters 

247 Hot and Cool 

252 Nomadic Thought 

262 On Capitalism and Desire 

274 Five Propositions on Psychoanalysis 

281 Faces and Surfaces 

284 Preface to Hocquenghem's L'Apres-Mai des faunes 

289 A Planter's Art 

292 Notes 

313 List of Translators 

314 Index 


This first volume gathers together almost all the texts which Gilles Deleuze 
published in France and abroad between 1953 and 1974, starting with Empiri- 
cism and Subjectivity, his first book, and ending with the debates following 
Anti-Oedipus, co-authored with Felix Guattari. This collection essentially con- 
tains articles, book reviews, prefaces, interviews, and conferences all previously 
published in French, but not found in any one work by Deleuze. 

In order to avoid any bias as to order or emphasis, I have respected the 
strict chronology ofpublication (not of composition). A thematic organization 
would have jibed with the previous collection Negotiations, as well as the bib- 
liographical project undertaken around 1989,' but it might have erroneously 
suggested that this collection constituted a book "by" Deleuze, or at least one 
he was planning. 

The conditions for publication specified by Deleuze have been respected: 
no texts prior to 1953, and no previously unpublished or posthumous texts. 
Those texts published for the first time in this volume are all mentioned in the 
1989 bibliography. 

A second volume will collect texts published between 1975 and 1995: Two 
Regimes of Madness and other texts {Deux regimes de fous et autres textes). 

— David Lapoujade 

Desert Islands 

Geographers say there are two kinds of islands. This is valuable information for 
the imagination because it confirms what the imagination already knew. Nor 
is it the only case where science makes mythology more concrete, and mythol- 
ogy makes science more vivid. Continental islands are accidental, derived 
islands. They are separated from a continent, born of disarticulation, erosion, 
fracture; they survive the absorption of what once contained them. Oceanic 
islands are originary, essential islands. Some are formed from coral reefs and 
display a genuine organism. Others emerge from underwater eruptions, bring- 
ing to the light of day a movement from the lowest depths. Some rise slowly; 
some disappear and then return, leaving us no time to annex them. These two 
kinds of islands, continental and originary, reveal a profound opposition 
between ocean and land. Continental islands serve as a reminder that the sea is 
on top of the earth, taking advantage of the slightest sagging in the highest 
structures; oceanic islands, that the earth is still there, under the sea, gathering 
its strength to punch through to the surface. We can assume that these ele- 
ments are in constant strife, displaying a repulsion for one another. In this we 
find nothing to reassure us. Also, that an island is deserted must appear philo- 
sophically normal to us. Humans cannot live, nor live in security, unless they 
assume that the active struggle between earth and water is over, or at least con- 
tained. People like to call these two elements mother and father, assigning 
them gender roles according to the whim of their fancy. They must somehow 
persuade themselves that a struggle of this kind does not exist, or that it has 
somehow ended. In one way or another, the very existence of islands is the 
negation of this point of view, of this effort, this conviction. That England is 
populated will always come as a surprise; humans can live on an island only 
by forgetting what an island represents. Islands are either from before or for 
after humankind. 


But everything that geography has told us about the two kinds of islands, 
the imagination knew already on its own and in another way. The elan that 
draws humans toward islands extends the double movement that produces 
islands in themselves. Dreaming of islands — whether with joy or in fear, it 
doesn't matter — is dreaming of pulling away, of being already separate, far 
from any continent, of being lost and alone — or it is dreaming of starting from 
scratch, recreating, beginning anew. Some islands drifted away from the conti- 
nent, but the island is also that toward which one drifts; other islands 
originated in the ocean, but the island is also the origin, radical and absolute. 
Certainly, separating and creating are not mutually exclusive: one has to hold 
one's own when one is separated, and had better be separate to create anew; 
nevertheless, one of the two tendencies always predominates. In this way, the 
movement of the imagination of islands takes up the movement of their pro- 
duction, but they don't have the same objective. It is the same movement, but 
a different goal. It is no longer the island that is separated from the continent, 
it is humans who find themselves separated from the world when on an island. 
It is no longer the island that is created from the bowels of the earth through 
the liquid depths, it is humans who create the world anew from the island and 
on the waters. Humans thus take up for themselves both movements of the 
island and are able to do so on an island that, precisely, lacks one kind of move- 
ment: humans can drift toward an island that is nonetheless originary, and they 
can create on an island that has merely drifted away. On closer inspection, we 
find here a new reason for every island to be and remain in theory deserted. 

An island doesn't stop being deserted simply because it is inhabited. While 
it is true that the movement of humans toward and on the island takes up the 
movement of the island prior to humankind, some people can occupy the 
island — it is still deserted, all the more so, provided they are sufficiently, that 
is, absolutely separate, and provided they are sufficient, absolute creators. Cer- 
tainly, this is never the case in fact, though people who are shipwrecked 
approach such a condition. But for this to be the case, we need only extrapo- 
late in imagination the movement they bring with them to the island. Only in 
appearance does such a movement put an end to the island's desertedness; in 
reality, it takes up and prolongs the elan that produced the island as deserted. 
Far from compromising it, humans bring the desertedness to its perfection and 
highest point. In certain conditions which attach them to the very movement 
of things, humans do not put an end to desertedness, they make it sacred. 
Those people who come to the island indeed occupy and populate it; but in 
reality, were they sufficiently separate, sufficiently creative, they would give the 
island only a dynamic image of itself, a consciousness of the movement which 
produced the island, such that through them the island would in the end 
become conscious of itself as deserted and unpeopled. The island would be 
only the dream of humans, and humans, the pure consciousness of the island. 



For this to be the case, there is again but one condition: humans would have 
to reduce themselves to the movement that brings them to the island, the 
movement which prolongs and takes up the elan that produced the island. 
Then geography and the imagination would be one. To that question so dear 
to the old explorers — "which creatures live on deserted islands?" — one could 
only answer: human beings live there already, but uncommon humans, they 
are absolutely separate, absolute creators, in short, an Idea of humanity, a pro- 
totype, a man who would almost be a god, a woman who would be a goddess, 
a great Amnesiac, a pure Artist, a consciousness of Earth and Ocean, an enor- 
mous hurricane, a beautiful witch, a statue from the Easter Islands. There you 
have a human being who precedes itself. Such a creature on a deserted island 
would be the deserted island itself, insofar as it imagines and reflects itself in 
its first movement. A consciousness of the earth and ocean, such is the desert- 
ed island, ready to begin the world anew. But since human beings, even 
voluntarily, are not identical to the movement that puts them on the island, 
they are unable to join with the elan that produces the island; they always 
encounter it from the outside, and their presence in fact spoils its desertedness. 
The unity of the deserted island and its inhabitant is thus not actual, only 
imaginary, like the idea of looking behind the curtain when one is not behind 
it. More importantly, it is doubtful whether the individual imagination, unaid- 
ed, could raise itself up to such an admirable identity; it would require the 
collective imagination, what is most profound in it, i.e. rites and mythology. 

In the facts themselves we find at least a negative confirmation of all this, 
if we consider what a deserted island is in reality, that is, geographically. The 
island, and all the more so the deserted island, is an extremely poor or weak 
notion from the point of view of geography. This is to its credit. The range of 
islands has no objective unity, and deserted islands have even less. The desert- 
ed island may indeed have extremely poor soil. Deserted, the island may be a 
desert, but not necessarily. The real desert is uninhabited only insofar as it pre- 
sents no conditions that by rights would make life possible, whether vegetable, 
animal, or human. On the contrary, the lack of inhabitants on the deserted 
island is a pure fact due to circumstance, in other words, the island's sur- 
roundings. The island is what the sea surrounds and what we travel around. It 
is like an egg. An egg of the sea, it is round. It is as though the island had 
pushed its desert outside. What is deserted is the ocean around it. It is by virtue 
of circumstance, for other reasons than the principle on which the island 
depends, that ships pass in the distance and never come ashore. The island is 
deserted more than it is a desert. So much so, that in itself the island may con- 
tain the liveliest of rivers, the most agile fauna, the brightest flora, the most 
amazing nourishment, the hardiest of savages, and the castaway as its most pre- 
cious fruit, it may even contain, however momentarily, the ship that comes to 
take him away. For all that, it is not any less a deserted island. To change this 



situation, we would have to overhaul the general distribution of the continents, 
the state of the seas, and the lines of navigation. 

This is to state once again that the essence of the deserted island is imag- 
inary and not actual, mythological and not geographical. At the same time, its 
destiny is subject to those human conditions that make mythology possible. 
Mythology is not simply willed into existence, and the peoples of the earth 
quickly ensured they would no longer understand their own myths. It is at 
this very moment literature begins. Literature is the attempt to interpret, in 
an ingenious way, the myths we no longer understand, at the moment we no 
longer understand them, since we no longer know how to dream them or 
reproduce them. Literature is the competition of misinterpretations that con- 
sciousness naturally and necessarily produces on themes of the unconscious, 
and like every competition it has its prizes. One would have to show exactly 
how in this sense mythology fails and dies in two classic novels of the desert- 
ed island, Robinson and Suzanne. Suzanne and the Pacific emphasizes the 
separated aspect of islands, the separation of the young woman who finds her- 
self there; 1 Robinson Crusoe, the creative aspect, the beginning anew. It is true 
that the way mythology fails is different in each case. In the case of Giraudoux's 
Suzanne, mythology dies the prettiest, most graceful death. In Robinson's 
case, its death is heavy indeed. One can hardly imagine a more boring novel, 
and it is sad to see children still reading it today. Robinson's vision of the 
world resides exclusively in property; never have we seen an owner more ready 
to preach. The mythical recreation of the world from the deserted island gives 
way to the reconstitution of everyday bourgeois life from a reserve of capital. 
Everything is taken from the ship. Nothing is invented. It is all painstakingly 
applied on the island. Time is nothing but the time necessary for capital to 
produce a benefit as the outcome of work. And the providential function of 
God is to guarantee a return. God knows his people, the hardworking honest 
type, by their beautiful properties, and the evil doers, by their poorly main- 
tained, shabby property. Robinson's companion is not Eve, but Friday, docile 
towards work, happy to be a slave, and too easily disgusted by cannibalism. 
Any healthy reader would dream of seeing him eat Robinson. Robinson Crusoe 
represents the best illustration of that thesis which affirms the close ties 
between capitalism and Protestantism. The novel develops the failure and the 
death of mythology in Puritanism. Things are quite different with Suzanne. 
In her case, the deserted island is a depository of ready-made, luxurious 
objects. The island bears immediately what it has taken civilization centuries 
to produce, perfect, and ripen. But mythology still dies, though in Suzanne's 
case it dies in a particularly Parisian way. Suzanne has nothing to create anew. 
The deserted island provides her with the double of every object from the city, 
in the windows of the shops; it is a double without consistency, separated 
from the real, since it does not receive the solidity that objects ordinarily take 



on in human relations, amidst buying and selling, exchanges and presents. 
She is an insipid young woman. Her companions are not Adam, but young 
cadavers, and when she reenters the world of living men, she will love them 
in a uniform way, like a priest, as though love were the minimum threshold 
of her perception. 

What must be recovered is the mythological life of the deserted island. 
However, in its very failure, Robinson gives us some indication: he first need- 
ed a reserve of capital. In Suzanne's case, she was first and foremost separate. 
And neither the one nor the other could be part of a couple. These three indi- 
cations must be restored to their mythological purity. We have to get back to 
the movement of the imagination that makes the deserted island a model, a 
prototype of the collective soul. First, it is true that from the deserted island it 
is not creation but re-creation, not the beginning but a re-beginning that takes 
place. The deserted island is the origin, but a second origin. From it everything 
begins anew. The island is the necessary minimum for this re-beginning, the 
material that survives the first origin, the radiating seed or egg that must be 
sufficient to re-produce everything. Clearly, this presupposes that the forma- 
tion of the world happens in two stages, in two periods of time, birth and 
re-birth, and that the second is just as necessary and essential as the first, and 
thus the first is necessarily compromised, born for renewal and already 
renounced in a catastrophe. It is not that there is a second birth because there 
has been a catastrophe, but the reverse, there is a catastrophe after the origin 
because there must be, from the beginning, a second birth. Within ourselves 
we can locate the source of such a theme: it is not the production of life that 
we look for when we judge it to be life, but its reproduction. The animal whose 
mode of reproduction remains unknown to us has not yet taken its place 
among living beings. It is not enough that everything begin, everything must 
begin again once the cycle of possible combinations has come to completion. 
The second moment does not succeed the first: it is the reappearance of the 
first when the cycle of the other moments has been completed. The second ori- 
gin is thus more essential than the first, since it gives us the law of repetition, 
the law of the series, whose first origin gave us only moments. But this theme, 
even more than in our fantasies, finds expression in every mythology. It is well 
known as the myth of the flood. The ark sets down on the one place on earth 
that remains uncovered by water, a circular and sacred place, from which the 
world begins anew. It is an island or a mountain, or both at once: the island is 
a mountain under water, and the mountain, an island that is still dry. Here we 
see original creation caught in a re-creation, which is concentrated in a holy 
land in the middle of the ocean. This second origin of the world is more 
important than the first: it is a sacred island. Many myths recount that what 
we find there is an egg, a cosmic egg. Since the island is a second origin, it is 
entrusted to man and not to the gods. It is separate, separated by the massive 



expanse of the flood. Ocean and water embody a principle of segregation such 
that, on sacred islands, exclusively female communities can come to be, such 
as the island of Circe or Calypso. After all, the beginning started from God and 
from a couple, but not the new beginning, the beginning again, which starts 
from an egg: mythological maternity is often a parthenogenesis. The idea of a 
second origin gives the deserted island its whole meaning, the survival of a 
sacred place in a world that is slow to re-begin. In the ideal of beginning anew 
there is something that precedes the beginning itself, that takes it up to deepen 
it and delay it in the passage of time. The desert island is the material of this 
something immemorial, this something most profound. 


Jean Hyppolite's Logic and Existence* 

Jean Hyppolite's earlier Genesis and Structure of Hegel's 'Phenomenology of Spirit' 
was a commentary on Hegel, preserving Hegel in its entirety. 2 The intention 
behind Hyppolite's new book is quite different. 3 Investigating Logic, Phenom- 
enology, and the Encyclopedia, Hyppolite starts from a precise idea to make a 
precise point: Philosophy must be ontology, it cannot be anything else; but there is 
no ontology of essence, there is only an ontology of sense. Here we have, it seems, 
the thesis of this essential book, whose style alone is a tour de force. If Hyp- 
polite's thesis 'philosophy is ontology' means one thing above all, it is that 
philosophy is not anthropology. 

Anthropology aspires to be a discourse on humanity. As such, it presup- 
poses the empirical discourse A /"humanity, in which the speaker and the object 
of his speech are separate. Reflection is on one side, while being is on the other. 
Seen in this light, understanding is a movement which is not a movement of 
the thing; it remains outside the object. Understanding is thus the power to 
abstract; and reflection is merely external and formal. It follows that empiri- 
cism ultimately sends us back to formalism, just as formalism refers back to 
empiricism. "Empirical consciousness is a consciousness directed at preexistent 
being, relegating reflection to subjectivity." Subjectivity will thus be treated as 
a fact, and anthropology will be set up as the science of this fact. Kant's legit- 
imizing subjectivity does not change the essential point. 

"Critical consciousness is a consciousness that reflects the knowing self, but 
which relegates being to the thing-in-itself." Kant indeed achieves the synthesis 
of the identity of subject and object — but only an object relative to the subject: 
the very identity is the synthesis of the imagination and is not posited in being 
itself. He goes beyond the psychological and the empirical, all the while remain- 
ing within the anthropological. So long as the determination is only subjective, 
we cannot get outside anthropology. Must we get outside it, and how do we do 



so? These two questions are in fact one question: the way to get outside is also 
the necessity to do so. To his credit, Kant's insight is that thought is presupposed 
as given: thought is given because it thinks itself and reflects itself, and it is pre- 
supposed as given because the totality of objects presupposes thought as that 
which makes understanding possible. Thus, in Kant, thought and the thing are 
identical, but the thing identical to thought is only a relative thing, not the 
thing-as-being, not the thing-in-itself Hegel, therefore, aspires to the veritable 
identity of what is given and what is presupposed, in other words, to the 
Absolute. In his Phenomenology, we are shown that the general difference 
between being and reflection, of being-in-itself and being-for-itself, of truth and 
certainty, develop in the concrete moments of a dialectic whose very movement 
abolishes this difference, or preserves it only as a necessary appearance. In this 
sense, the Phenomenology starts from human reflection to show that this human 
reflection and its consequences lead to the absolute knowledge which they pre- 
suppose. As Hyppolite remarks, it is a question of "reducing" anthropology, of 
"removing the obstacle" of a knowledge whose source is foreign. But it is not just 
at the finish, or at the beginning, that absolute knowledge is. Knowledge is 
already absolute in every moment: a figure of consciousness is a moment of the 
concept, only in a different guise; the external difference between being and 
reflection is, in a different guise, the internal difference of Being itself or, in other 
terms, Being which is identical to difference, to mediation. "Since the difference 
of consciousness has returned into the self, these moments are then presented as 
determined concepts and as their organic movement which is grounded in itself." 
How "arrogant," someone will say, to act like God and grant yourself 
absolute knowledge. But we have to understand what being is with respect to 
the given. Being, according to Hyppolite, is not essence but sense. Saying that 
this world is sufficient not only means that it sufficient for us, but that it is suf- 
ficient unto itself and that the world refers to being not as the essence beyond 
appearances, and not as a second world which would be the world of the Intel- 
ligible, but as the sense of this world. Certainly, we find this substitution of 
sense for essence already in Plato, when he shows us that the second world is 
itself the subject of a dialectic that makes it the sense of this world, not some 
other world. But the great agent of substitution is again Kant, because his cri- 
tique replaces formal possibility with transcendental possibility, the being of 
the possible with the possibility of being, logical identity with the synthetic 
identity of recognition, the being of logic with the logical nature of being — in 
a word, the critique replaces essence with sense. According to Hyppolite, the 
great proposition of Hegel's Logic is that there is no second world, because 
such a proposition is at the same time the rationale for transforming meta- 
physics into logic, the logic of sense. 'There is no beyond' means there is no 
beyond to the world (because Being is only sense); and that there is in the 
world beyond to thought (because in thought it is being which thinks itself); 



and finally, that there is in thought no beyond of language. Jean Hyppolite's 
book is a reflection on the conditions of an absolute discourse; and in this 
respect, those chapters on the ineffable and on poetry are crucial. The same 
people who chitchat are those who believe in the ineffable. But if Being is 
sense, true knowledge is not the knowledge of an Other, nor of some other 
thing. Absolute knowledge is what is closest, so to speak, what is most simple: 
it is here. "Behind the curtain there is nothing to see," or as Hyppolite says: 
"the secret is that there is no secret." 

We see then the difficulty which the author emphatically underlines: if 
ontology is an ontology of sense and not essence, if there is no second world, 
how can absolute knowledge be distinguished from empirical knowledge? Do 
we not fall back into the simple anthropology which we just criticized? 
Absolute knowledge must at one and the same time include empirical knowl- 
edge and nothing else, since there is nothing else to include, and yet it has to 
include its own radical difference from empirical knowledge. Hyppolite's idea 
is this: essentialism, despite appearances, was not what preserved us from 
empiricism and allowed us to go beyond it. From the viewpoint of essence, 
reflection is no less exterior than it is in empiricism or pure critique. Empiri- 
cism posited determination as purely subjective; essentialism, by opposing 
determinations to one another and to the Absolute, leads only to the bottom 
of this limitation. Essentialism is on the same side as empiricism. On the other 
hand, however, the ontology of sense is total Thought that knows itself only in 
its determinations, which are moments of form. In the empirical and in the 
absolute, it is the same being and the same thought; but the empirical, exter- 
nal difference of thought and being has given way to the difference which is 
identical to Being, to the internal difference of Being that thinks itself. Thus 
absolute knowledge is in effect distinct from empirical knowledge, but only at 
the cost of denying the knowledge of non-different essence. In logic, therefore, 
there is no longer, as there is in the empirical realm, what I say on the one hand 
and the sense of what I say on the other — the pursuit of the one by the other 
being the dialectic of Phenomenology. On the contrary, my discourse is logi- 
cally or properly philosophical when I speak the sense of what I say, and when 
Being thus speaks itself. Such discourse, which is the particular style of philos- 
ophy, cannot be other than circular. In this connection, we cannot fail to 
notice those pages Hyppolite devotes to the problem of beginning in philoso- 
phy, a problem which is not only logical, but pedagogical. 

Hyppolite thus rises up against any anthropological or humanist interpretation 
of Hegel. Absolute knowledge is not a reflection of humanity, but a reflection of 
the Absolute in humanity. The Absolute is not a second world, and yet absolute 
knowledge is indeed distinct from empirical knowledge, just as philosophy is dis- 
tinct from any anthropology. In this regard, however, if we must consider 
decisive the distinction Hyppolite makes between Logic and Phenomenology, 



does the philosophy of history not have a more ambiguous relation to Logic? 
Hyppolite says as much: the Absolute as sense is becoming; and it is certainly not 
an historical becoming. But what is the relation of Logic's becoming to history, 
if 'historical' in this instance designates anything but the simple character of a 
fact? The relation of ontology and empirical humanity is perfectly determined, 
but not the relation of ontology and historical humanity. And if as Hyppolite 
suggests finitude itself must be reintroduced into the Absolute, does this not risk 
the return of anthropologism in a new form? Hyppolite's conclusion remains 
open; it opens the way for an ontology. But I would only point out that the 
source of the difficulty, perhaps, was already in Logic itself. It is indeed thanks to 
Hyppolite that we now realize philosophy, if it means anything, can only be 
ontology and an ontology of sense. In the empirical realm and in the absolute, it 
is the same being and the same thought; but the difference between thought and 
being has been surpassed in the absolute by the positing of Being which is iden- 
tical to difference, and which as such thinks itself and reflects itself in humanity. 
This absolute identity of being and difference is called sense. But there is one 
point in all this where Hyppolite shows his Hegelian bias: Being can be identi- 
cal to difference only in so far as difference is taken to the absolute, in other 
words, all the way to contradiction. Speculative difference is self-contradictory 
Being. The thing contradicts itself because, distinguishing itself from all that is 
not, it finds its being in this very difference; it reflects itself only by reflecting 
itself in the other, since the other is its other. This is the theme Hyppolite devel- 
ops when he analyzes the three moments of Logic: being, essence, and the 
concept. Hegel will reproach Plato and Leibniz both for not going all the way to 
contradiction: Plato remains at simple alterity; and Leibniz, at pure difference. 
This supposes in the very least not only that the moments of Phenomenology 
and the moments of Logic are not moments in the same sense, but also that there 
are two ways, phenomenological and logical, to contradict oneself. In the wake 
of this fruitful book by Jean Hyppolite, one might ask whether an ontology of 
difference couldn't be created that would not go all the way to contradiction, 
since contradiction would be less and not more than difference. Hyppolite says 
that an ontology of pure difference would restore us to a purely formal and exte- 
rior reflection, and would in the end reveal itself to be an ontology of essence. 
However, the same question could be asked in another way: is it the same thing 
to say that Being expresses itself and that Being contradicts itself? While it is true 
that the second and third parts of Hyppolite's book establish a theory of contra- 
diction in Being, where contradiction itself is the absolute of difference, on the 
other hand, in the first part (the theory of language) and throughout the book 
(allusions to forgetting, remembering, lost meaning), does not Hyppolite estab- 
lish a theory of expression, where difference is expression itself, and 
contradiction, that aspect which is only phenomenal? 


Instincts and Institutions 

What we call an instinct and what we call an institution essentially designate 
procedures of satisfaction. On the one hand, an organism reacts instinctively to 
external stimuli, extracting from the external world the elements which will sat- 
isfy its tendencies and needs; these elements comprise worlds that are specific to 
different animals. On the other hand, the subject institutes an original world 
between its tendencies and the external milieu, developing artificial means of 
satisfaction. These artificial means liberate an organism from nature though 
they subject it to something else, transforming tendencies by introducing them 
into a new milieu. So money will liberate you from hunger, provided you have 
money; and marriage will spare you from searching out a partner, though it sub- 
jects you to other tasks. In other words, every individual experience 
presupposes, as an a priori, the existence of a milieu in which that experience is 
conducted, a species-specific milieu or an institutional milieu. Instinct and 
institution are the two organized forms of a possible satisfaction. 

There is no doubt that tendencies find satisfaction in the institution: sex- 
uality finds it in marriage, and avarice in property. The example of an 
institution like the State, it will be objected, does not have a tendency to 
which it corresponds. But it is clear that such institutions are secondary: they 
already presuppose institutionalized behaviors, recalling a derived utility that 
is properly social. In the end, this utility locates the principle from which it is 
derived in the relation of tendencies to the social. The institution is always 
given as an organized system of means. It is here, moreover, that we find the 
difference between institution and law: law is a limitation of actions, institu- 
tion a positive model for action. Contrary to theories of law which place the 
positive outside the social (natural rights), and the social in the negative (con- 
tractual limitation), the theory of the institution places the negative outside 
the social (needs), so as to present society as essentially positive and inventive 



(original means of satisfaction). Such a theory will afford us the following 
political criteria: tyranny is a regime in which there are many laws and few 
institutions; democracy is a regime in which there are many institutions, and 
few laws. Oppression becomes apparent when laws bear directly on people, 
and not on the prior institutions that protect them. 

But if it is true that tendencies are satisfied by the institution, the institu- 
tion is not explained by tendencies. The same sexual needs will never explain 
the multiple possible forms of marriage. Neither does the negative explain the 
positive, nor the general the particular. The "desire to whet your appetite" 
does not explain drinks before dinner, because there are a thousand other ways 
to whet your appetite. Brutality does not explain war in the least; and yet bru- 
tality discovers in war its best means. This is the paradox of society: we are 
always talking about institutions, but we are in fact confronted by procedures 
of satisfaction — and the tendencies satisfied by such procedures neither trig- 
ger nor determine the procedures. Tendencies are satisfied by means that do 
not depend on them. Therefore, no tendency exists which is not at the same 
time constrained or harassed, and thus transformed, sublimated — to such an 
extent that neurosis is possible. What is more, if needs find in the institution 
only a very indirect satisfaction, an "oblique" satisfaction, it is not enough to 
say "the institution is useful," one must still ask the question: useful for 
whom? For all those who have needs? Or just for a few (the privileged class)? 
Or only for those who control the institution (the bureaucracy)? One of the 
most profound sociological problems thus consists in seeking out the nature 
of this other instance, on which the social forms of the satisfaction of ten- 
dencies depend. The rituals of a civilization? The means of production? 
Whatever this other instance is, human utility is always something else than 
mere advantage. The institution sends us back to a social activity that is con- 
stitutive of models of which we are not conscious, and which are not 
explained either by tendencies or by utility, since human utility presupposes 
tendencies in the first place. In this sense, the priest, the man of ritual, always 
embodies the unconscious of the ritual's users. 

How different is instinct? With instinct, nothing goes beyond utility, 
except beauty. Whereas tendencies were indirectly satisfied by the institution, 
they are directly satisfied by instinct. There are no instinctive prohibitions, 
or instinctive coercions; only repugnancies are instinctive. In this case, it is 
the tendencies themselves, in the form of internal psychological factors, that 
trigger certain behaviors. Undoubtedly, too, these internal factors will not 
explain how they, even if they were the self-same factors, trigger different 
behaviors in different species. In other words, instinct finds itself at the inter- 
section of a double causality, that of individual psychological factors and that 
of the species itself — hormones and species-specificity. Thus, we ask our- 
selves only to what extent instinct can be reduced to the simple interest of 



the individual: in which case, if we take it to the limit, we should no longer 
speak of instinct, but rather of reflex, of tropism, of habit and intelligence. 
Or is it that instinct can be understood only within the framework of an 
advantage to the species, a good for the species, an ultimate biological cause? 
"Useful for whom?" is the question we rediscover here, but its meaning has 
changed. Instinct, seen from both angles, is given as a tendency launched in 
an organism at species-specific reactions. 

The problem common to instinct and to institution is still this: how does 
the synthesis of tendencies and the object that satisfies them come about? 
Indeed, the water that I drink does not resemble at all the hydrates my organ- 
ism lacks. The more perfect an instinct is in its domain, the more it belongs 
to the species, and the more it seems to constitute an original, irreducible 
power of synthesis. But the more perfectible instinct is, and thus imperfect, 
the more it is subjected to variation, to indecision, and the more it allows 
itself to be reduced to the mere play of internal individual factors and exteri- 
or circumstances — the more it gives way to intelligence. However, if we take 
this line of argument to its limit, how could such a synthesis, offering to the 
tendency a suitable object, be intelligent when such a synthesis, to be realized, 
implies a period of time too long for the individual to live, and experiments 
which it would not survive? 

We are forced back on the idea that intelligence is something more social 
than individual, and that intelligence finds in the social its intermediate 
milieu, the third term that makes intelligence possible. What does the social 
mean with respect to tendencies? It means integrating circumstances into a 
system of anticipation, and internal factors into a system that regulates their 
appearance, thus replacing the species. This is indeed the case with the insti- 
tution. It is night because we sleep; we eat because it is lunchtime. There are 
no social tendencies, but only those social means to satisfy tendencies, means 
which are original because they are social. Every institution imposes a series 
of models on our bodies, even in its involuntary structures, and offers our 
intelligence a sort of knowledge, a possibility of foresight as project. We come 
to the following conclusion: humans have no instincts, they builds institutions. 
The Human is an animal decimating its species. Therefore, instinct would 
translate the urgent needs of the animal, and the institution the demands of 
humanity: the urgency of hunger becomes in humanity the demand for bread. 
In the end, the problem of instinct and institution will be grasped most acutely 
not in animal "societies," but in relations of animal and humans, when the 
demands of men come to bear on the animal by integrating it into institutions 
(totemism and domestication), when the urgent needs of the animal encounters 
the human, either fleeing or attacking us, or patiently waiting for nourish- 
ment and protection. 


Bergson, 1859-194V 

A great philosopher creates new concepts: these concepts simultaneously surpass 
the dualities of ordinary thought and give things a new truth, a new distribution, 
a new way of dividing up the world. The name 'Bergson' remains associated with 
the notions of duration, memory, elan vital, and intuition. His influence and his 
genius are evaluated according to the way in which these concepts have been 
imposed and used, have entered and remained in the philosophical world. With 
Time and Free Will the original concept of duration was formed; in Matter and 
memory, a concept of memory; in Creative Evolution, that of elan vital. The rela- 
tionship of these three neighboring notions can show us the development and the 
progress ofBergsonian philosophy. What, then, is this relationship? 

To begin with, I will set out to examine intuition only, not because it is the 
essential notion, but because it can instruct us in the nature ofBergsonian prob- 
lems. It is not by chance that, when speaking of intuition, Bergson shows us the 
importance, in the life of the mind, of an activity that sets up and organizes prob- 
lems: there are false problems more than there are false solutions, more than there 
are false solutions for true problems. 2 Now, if a certain intuition is always at the 
heart of a philosopher's doctrine, one of the original things about Bergson is that 
in his own doctrine, he organized intuition itself as a true method, a method for 
eliminating false problems, for setting up problems truthfully, a method that sets 
them up, then, in terms of duration. "Questions related to the subject and to the 
object, to their distinction and their union, must be set up in terms of time rather 
than space." No doubt it is duration that judges intuition, as Bergson recalls on 
numerous occasions, but it nonetheless remains the case that it is only intuition 
that can, when it has become conscious of itself as a method, seek duration in 
things, appeal to duration, invoke duration, precisely because it owes duration all 
that it is. If, therefore, intuition is not a simple pleasure, nor a presentiment, nor 


BERGSON, 1859-1941 

simply an affective process, we must first determine what its truly methodological 
character is. 

The first characteristic of intuition is that in it and through it something is 
presented, is given in person, instead of being inferred from something else and 
concluded. Here, already, the general orientation of philosophy comes into ques- 
tion, for it is not enough to say that philosophy is at the origin of the sciences 
and that it was their mother; rather, now that they are grown up and well estab- 
lished, we must ask why there is still philosophy, in what respect science is not 
sufficient. Philosophy has only ever responded to such a question in two ways, 
doubtless because there are only two possible responses. One says that science 
gives us a knowledge of things, that it is therefore in a certain relation with them, 
and philosophy can renounce its rivalry with science, can leave things to science 
and present itself solely in a critical manner, as a reflection on this knowledge of 
things. On the contrary view, philosophy seeks to establish, or rather restore, an 
other relationship to things, and therefore an other knowledge, a knowledge and 
a relationship that precisely science hides from us, of which it deprives us, 
because it allows us only to conclude and to infer without ever presenting, giv- 
ing to us the thing in itself. It is this second path that Bergson takes by 
repudiating critical philosophies when he shows us in science, in technical activ- 
ity, intelligence, everyday language, social life, practical need and, most 
importantly, in space — the many forms and relations that separate us from things 
and from their interiority. 

But intuition has a second characteristic: understood in this way, it presents 
itself as a return, because the philosophical relationship, which puts us in things 
instead of leaving us outside, is restored rather than established by philosophy, 
rediscovered rather than invented. We are separated from things; the immediate 
given is therefore not immediately given. But we cannot be separated by a sim- 
ple accident, by a mediation that would come from us, that would concern only 
us. The movement that changes the nature of things must be founded in things 
themselves; things must begin by losing themselves in order for us to end up los- 
ing them; being must have a fundamental lapse of memory. Matter is precisely 
that in being which prepares and accompanies space, intelligence and science. 
Hence Bergson does something entirely different from psychology, because mat- 
ter is more an ontological principle of intelligence than some mere intelligence is 
a psychological principle of matter itself or of space. 4 For the same reason, he 
refuses scientific knowledge nothing, not only telling us that it separates us from 
things and from their true nature, but also that it grasps at least one of the two 
halves of being, one of the two sides of the absolute, one of the two movements 
of nature, the one in which nature relaxes and places itself outside of itself. 5 
Bergson will go even further, because under certain conditions science can be 
united with philosophy, that is to say, reach, together with it, a total compre- 
hension. 6 Be that as it may, we can already say that there will not be in Bergson's 



work anything like a distinction between two worlds, one sensible, the other 
intelligible, but only two movements, or even just two directions of one and the 
same movement: the one is such that the movement tends to congeal in its prod- 
uct, in its result, that which interrupts it; and the other turns back and retraces 
its steps, rediscovers in the product the movement from which it resulted. The 
two directions are natural as well, each in its own way: the former occurs accord- 
ing to nature, though nature risks losing itself in it at each pause, at each breath; 
the latter occurs contrary to nature, but nature rediscovers itself in it, starts over 
again in the tension. The latter can only be found beneath the former, and it is 
always thus that it is rediscovered. We rediscover the immediate because we must 
return to find it. In philosophy the first time is already the second; such is the 
notion of foundation. No doubt it is the product that is, in a way, and the move- 
ment that is not, that is no longer. But it is not in these terms that the problem 
of being must be set up. At every instant, the movement is no more, but precisely 
because it is not made up of instants, because instants are only its real or virtual 
cessations, its product and the shadow of its product. Being is not made up of 
presents. In another way, then, it is the product that is not and the movement 
that already was. In one of Achilles' steps, the instants and the points are not 
divided up. Bergson shows us this in his most difficult book: it is not the present 
that is and the past that is no longer, rather the present is useful; being is the past, 
being used to be. 7 We will see that far from eliminating the unforeseeable and the 
contingent, such a thesis lays the foundation for them. In distinguishing the two 
worlds, Bergson replaced them by the distinction of two movements, two direc- 
tions of one and the same movement, spirit and matter, two times in the same 
duration, the past and the present, which he knew how to conceive as coexistent 
precisely because they were in the same duration, the one beneath the other, and 
not the one after the other. We must simultaneously understand the necessary 
distinction as a difference of time, but also understand the different times, the 
present and the past, as contemporary with one another, and forming the same 
world. We will now see in what way. 

Why is what we rediscover called the immediate? What is immediate? If sci- 
ence is a real knowledge of the thing, a knowledge of reality, what it loses or 
simply risks losing is not exactly the thing. What science risks losing, unless it is 
infiltrated by philosophy, is less the thing itself than the difference of the thing, 
that which makes its being, that which makes it this rather than that, this rather 
than something else. Bergson energetically denounces what seem to him false 
problems: why is there something rather than nothing, why order rather than dis- 
order? 8 If such problems are false, badly set up, it is for two reasons. First because 
they make of being a generality, something immovable or undifferentiated that, 
in the immobile ensemble in which it is set, can only be distinguished from noth- 
ingness, from non-being. Subsequently, even if one tries to give a movement to 
the immovable being thus posited, this movement would only be contradiction: 


BERGSON, 1859- 1941 

order and disorder, being and nothingness, the singular and the multiple. But in 
fact, being cannot be composed with two contradictory points of view any more 
than movement is composed of points of space or of instants: the stitching would 
be too loose. 9 Being is a bad concept to the extent that it serves to oppose every- 
thing there is to nothingness, or the thing itself to everything that it is not. In both 
cases being has left, it has deserted things, and it is no more than an abstraction. 
The Bergsonian question is therefore not: why something rather than nothing, 
but: why this rather than something else? Why this tension of duration?'" Why 
this speed rather than another?" Why this proportion? 12 And why will a percep- 
tion evoke a given memory, or pick up certain frequencies rather than others? 13 In 
other words, being is difference and not the immovable or the undifferentiated, 
nor is it contradiction, which is merely false movement. Being is the difference 
itself of the thing, what Bergson often calls the nuance. "An empiricism worthy of 
the name . . . would measure out for the object a concept appropriate to only that 
object, a concept of which one could barely say that it was still a concept because 
it would apply only to that thing." 1 ' And there is an odd text in which Bergson 
attributes to Ravaisson the goal of opposing intellectual intuition to the general 
idea, like white light to the simple idea of color: "Instead of diluting his thought 
in the general, the philosopher should concentrate it on the individual . . . The 
object of metaphysics is to recapture in individual existences, and to follow to the 
source from which it emanates, the particular ray that, conferring upon each of 
them its own nuance, reattaches it thereby to the universal light." 15 The immedi- 
ate is precisely the identity of the thing and its difference as philosophy rediscovers 
or "recaptures" it. Bergson denounces a common danger in science and in meta- 
physics: allowing difference to escape — because science conceives the thing as a 
product and a result, while metaphysics conceives being as something unmovable 
that serves as a principle. Both seek to attain being or to recompose it starting 
from resemblances and ever greater oppositions, but resemblance and opposition 
are almost always practical, not ontological, categories. Whence Bergson's insis- 
tence on showing us that for the sake of resemblance we risk putting extremely 
different things, things that differ in nature, under the same word. '"Being in fact 
is on the side of difference, neither singular nor multiple. But what is nuance, the 
difference of the thing, what is the difference of a sugar cube? It is not simply its 
difference from another thing: there we would have only a purely exterior relation, 
leading us, in the final instance, back to space. Nor is it its difference with every- 
thing that it is not: we would be led back to a dialectic of contradiction. Plato 
already didn't want alterity and contradiction to be confounded. But for Bergson, 
alterity is still not enough to make it so that being rejoins things and really is the 
being of things. He replaces the Platonic concept of alterity with an Aristotelian 
concept of alteration, in order to make of it substance itself. Being is alteration, 
alteration is substance. 17 And that is what Bergson calls duration, because all the 
characteristics by which he defines it, after Time and Free Will, come back to this: 



duration is that which differs or that which changes nature, quality, heterogene- 
ity, what differs from itself. The being of the sugar cube will be defined by a 
duration, by a certain manner of persisting, by a certain relaxation or tension of 

How does duration have this power? Or put the question another way: if 
being is the difference of the thing, what results from this for the thing itself? We 
encounter a third characteristic of intuition, more profound than the preceding 
ones. Intuition as a method is a method that seeks difference. It presents itself as 
seeking and finding differences in nature, the "articulations of the real." Being is 
articulated; a false problem is one that does not respect these differences. Bergson 
loves to cite Plato's text comparing the philosopher to the good cook who cuts 
things up according to their natural articulations; he constantly reproaches science 
as well as metaphysics for having retained only differences of degree where there 
used to be something entirely different, of thus being part of a badly analyzed 
"composite." One of Bergson's most famous passages shows us that intensity in 
fact covers up differences of nature that intuition can rediscover. 18 But we know 
that science and even metaphysics do not invent their own errors or their illusions: 
something founds them in being. Indeed, to the extent that we find ourselves 
before products, to the extent that the things with which we are concerned are still 
results, we cannot grasp differences of nature for the simple reason that there aren't 
any there: between two things, between two products, there are only and there 
only could be differences of degree, ofproportion. What differs in nature is never 
a thing, but a tendency. A difference of nature is never between two products or 
between two things, but in one and the same thing between the two tendencies that 
traverse it, in one and the same product between two tendencies that encounter 
one another in it. 19 Indeed, what is pure is never the thing; the thing is always a 
composite that must be dissociated; only the tendency is pure, which is to say that 
the true thing or the substance is the tendency itself. Intuition appears very much 
like a true method of division: it divides the mixed into two tendencies that dif- 
fer in nature. Hence we see the meaning of the dualisms dear to Bergson: not only 
the titles of many of his works, but each of the chapters, and the heading that pre- 
cedes each page, exhibit such a dualism. Quantity and quality, intelligence and 
instinct, geometric order and vital order, science and metaphysics, the closed and 
the open are its most known figures. We know that in the end they lead back to 
the always rediscovered distinction of matter and duration. Matter and duration 
are never distinguished as two things but as two movements, two tendencies, like 
relaxation and contraction. But we must go further: if the theme and the idea of 
purity have a great importance in the philosophy of Bergson, it is because in every 
case the two tendencies are not pure, or are not equally pure. Only one of the two 
is pure, or simple, the other playing, on the contrary, the role of an impurity that 
comes to compromise or to disturb it. 20 In the division of the composite there is 
always a right half; it is that which leads us back to duration. More than there ever 


BERGSON, 1859-1941 

really being a difference of nature between the two tendencies that divide the 
thing up, the difference itself of the thing was one of the two tendencies. And if 
we rise to the duality of matter and duration, we see quite clearly that duration 
shows us the very nature of difference, difference of self from self, whereas mat- 
ter is only the undifferentiated, that which is repeated, or the simple degree, that 
which can no longer change its nature. Do we not at the same time see that dual- 
ism is a moment already surpassed in Bergson's philosophy? For if there is a 
privileged half in the division; it must be that this half contains in itself the secret 
of the other. If all the difference is on one side, it must be that this side compre- 
hends its difference from the other and, in a certain way, the other itself or its 
possibility. Duration differs from matter, but it does so because it is first that 
which differs in itself and from itself, with the result that the matter from which 
it differs is still essentially of duration. As long as we remain within dualism, the 
thing is where two movements meet: duration, which by itself has no degrees, 
encounters matter as a contrary movement, as a certain obstacle, a certain impu- 
rity that mixes it up, that interrupts its impulse [elan], that gives it such and such 
a degree here, another one over there. 21 But more profoundly, duration is in itself 
susceptible to degrees because it is that which differs with itself, so that every 
thing is entirely defined in duration, including matter itself. From a still dualis- 
tic perspective, duration and matter were opposed as that which differs in nature 
and that which has only degrees; but more profoundly there are degrees of dif- 
ference itself; matter is the lowest, the very point where precisely difference is no 
longer anything but a difference of degree. 22 If it is true that intelligence is on the 
side of matter according to the object on which it bears, we still cannot define it 
in itself except by showing in what way it persists, that which dominates its 
object. And if it is a question of finally defining matter itself, it will not be 
enough to present it as an obstacle and as an impurity; it will always be necessary 
to show how it persists, its vibration still occupying multiple instances. Thus any 
thing is completely defined from the right side, by a certain duration, by a cer- 
tain degree of duration itself. 

A composite breaks down into two tendencies, one of which is duration, sim- 
ple and indivisible; but at the same time duration is differentiated in two 
directions, the other of which is matter. Space breaks down into matter and dura- 
tion, but duration is differentiated into contraction and expansion, expansion 
being the principle of matter. Thus, if dualism is surpassed in favor of monism, 
monism gives us a new dualism, this time mastered, dominated. Because the com- 
posite does not break down in the same way that the simple is differentiated. 
Therefore the method of intuition has a fourth and final characteristic: it is not 
content to follow natural articulations when carving things up; it also follows up 
"lines of fact," lines of differentiation, in order to rediscover the simple as a con- 
vergence of probabilities; it not only carves up [decoupe] but confirms [recoupe]. " 
Differentiation is the power of what is simple, indivisible, of what persists. Here 



we see how duration itself is an elan vital. Bergson finds in biology, particularly in 
the evolution of species, the mark of a certain process essential to life, precisely 
that of differentiation as the production of real differences, a process whose con- 
cept and philosophical consequences he will pursue. The admirable pages he 
wrote in Creative Evolution and in Two Sources show us such a life activity, lead- 
ing to plants and animals, or to instinct and intelligence, or to diverse forms of 
the same instinct. It seems to Bergson that differentiation is the mode of that 
which is realized, actualized, or made, in other words, that which gives rise to 
divergent series, lines of evolution, species. "The essence of a tendency is to be 
developed in the form of a sheaf, creating through the sole fact of its growth diver- 
gent directions." 24 Elan vital would therefore be duration itself to the extent it is 
actualized, is differentiated. Elan vital is difference to the extent that it passes into 
act. Hence differentiation does not come simply from matter's resistance, but 
more profoundly from a force that duration carries in itself: dichotomy is the law 
of life. And Bergson criticizes mechanism and finalism in biology, as he does the 
dialectic in philosophy, for always composing movement from points of view, as 
a relation between actual terms instead of seeing in it the actualization of some- 
thing virtual. But if differentiation is thus the original and irreducible mode 
through which a virtualiry is actualized, and if elan vital is duration differentiat- 
ed, then duration itself is virtuality. Creative Evolution brings to Time and Free 
Will a necessary deepening as well as a necessary extension. Because, since Time 
and Free Will, duration was presented as the virtual or the subjective, because it 
was less that which cannot be divided than that which changes its nature by being 
divided. 25 We must understand that the virtual is not something actual but is for 
that no less a mode of being, and is, moreover, in a way, being itself; neither dura- 
tion, nor life, nor movement is actual, but that in which all actuality, all reality is 
distinguished and comprehended and takes root. To be actualized is always the act 
of a whole that does not become entirely actual at the same time, in the same 
place, or in the same thing; consequently, it produces species that differ in nature, 
and it is itself this difference of nature among the species it has produced. Berg- 
son constantly said that duration is a change of nature, of quality. "Between light 
and darkness, between colors, between nuances, difference is absolute. The pas- 
sage from one to the other is itself also an absolutely real phenomenon." 26 

We therefore grasp duration and elan vital, the virtual and its actualization, as 
two extremes. Still, it must be said that duration is already elan vital because it is 
the essence of the virtual to be actualized; we therefore require a third aspect that 
shows it to us, one in some way intermediary to the two preceding. It is precisely 
under this third aspect that duration is called memory. Through all of its charac- 
teristics, duration is indeed a memory because it prolongs the past in the present, 
"whether the present distinctly encloses the ever-growing image of the past or 
whether it rather bears witness, through its continual changing of quality, of the 
ever- weightier burden one leads behind oneself as one grows older." 27 Let us recall 


BERGSON, 1859-1941 

that memory is always presented by Bergson in two ways: recollection-memory 
and contraction-memory, and that the second is the essential one. 2 " Why these 
two figures, which will give to memory an entirely new philosophical status? The 
first returns us to something that has survived from the past. But among all the 
theses of Bergson, perhaps the most profound and least understood is the one 
according to which the past survives in itself. 29 Because this survival itself is dura- 
tion, duration is in itself memory. Bergson shows us that recollection is not the 
representation of something that was; the past is that in which we put ourselves 
from the outset in order to recollect ourselves. 30 The past does not have to survive 
psychologically, nor physiologically in our brains, because it has not ceased to be, 
it has only ceased to be useful — it is; it survives in itself. And this being in itself 
of the past is but the immediate consequence of a good setting up of the problem: 
because if the past had to wait to be no more, if it were not immediately and 
henceforth past, "past in general," it would never be able to become what it is, it 
would never be this past. The past is therefore the in-itself, the unconscious or 
more precisely, as Bergson says, the virtual." But in what sense is it virtual? It is 
here that we encounter the second figure of memory. The past is not constituted 
after it has been present; it coexists with itself as present. If we reflect upon it, we see 
that indeed the philosophical difficulty of the very notion of the past comes from 
the fact that it is in some way stuck between two presents: the present that it was 
and the current present in relation to which it is now past. The mistake of psy- 
chology, which badly sets up the problem, is to have retained the second present 
and therefore to have sought the past starting from something current, and final- 
ly, to have more or less situated it in the brain. But in fact, "memory does not at 
all consist of a regression from the present to the past.'" 2 What Bergson shows us 
is that if the past is not past at the same time that it is present, not only will it 
never be able to be constituted, but it could also never thereafter be reconstituted 
starting from a later present. This, then, is the sense in which the past coexists 
with itself as present: duration is but this coexistence itself, this coexistence of 
itself with itself. Thus the past and the present must be thought as two extreme 
degrees coexisting in duration, the one distinguished by its state of relaxation, the 
other by its state of contraction. A famous metaphor tells us that at each level of 
the cone there is the whole of our past, but to different degrees: the present is only 
the most contracted degree of the past. "The same psychic life would therefore be 
repeated an indefinite number of times, at successive stages of memory, and the 
same mental act could be played out on many different levels"; "everything hap- 
pens as if our memories were repeated an indefinite number of times in these 
thousands and thousands of possible reductions of our past life"; everything is a 
change of energy, of tension, and nothing else. 35 At each degree everything is there, 
but everything coexists with everything, that is to say with the other degrees. We 
see therefore finally what is virtual: the coexistent degrees themselves and as such.' 4 
It is right to define duration as a succession, but wrong to insist on it; it is, in 



effect, a real succession only because it is virtual coexistence. As for intuition, Berg- 
son writes: "Only the method of which we speak allows us to go beyond idealism 
as well as realism, to affirm the existence of objects inferior and superior to us, 
while at the same time in a certain sense interior to us, to make them coexist 
together without difficulty." 35 And in fact if we pursue the connections between 
Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution, we see that coexistent degrees are 
simultaneously what makes duration something virtual and what makes it so that 
duration nonetheless is actualized at every instant, because they delineate so many 
planes and levels that determine all the possible lines of differentiation. In short, 
actually divergent series give birth to, in duration, coexistent virtual degrees. 
Between intelligence and instinct there is a difference of nature because they arise 
from two divergent series; but what does this difference of nature finally express 
if not two degrees that coexist in duration, two different degrees of relaxation or 
of contraction? It is thus that each thing, each being is the whole, but the whole 
realized to a certain degree or another. In Bergson's first works, duration could 
appear an eminently psychological reality; but what is psychological is only our 
duration, that is to say, a certain well-determined degree. "If, instead of seeking to 
analyze duration (that is, at bottom, to synthesize it with concepts), one inhabits 
it initially through an effort of intuition, one has the feeling of a certain well- 
determined tension, whose determination itself appears as a choice among an 
infinity of possible durations. Thereafter, one perceives as many durations as one 
likes, all very different from one another . . .'""This is why the secret of Bergson- 
ism is no doubt in Matter and Memory; Bergson tells us, moreover, that his work 
consisted of reflecting on the fact that not everything is given. But what does such 
a reality signify? Simultaneously that the given presupposes a movement that 
invents it or creates it, and that this movement must not be conceived in the 
image of the given. 37 What Bergson critiques in the idea of the possible is that it 
presents us a simple copy of the product, projected or rather retrojected onto the 
movement of production, onto invention. 3 " But the virtual is not the same thing 
as the possible: the reality of time is finally the affirmation of a virtuality that is 
actualized, for which to be actualized is to invent. Because if everything [tout] is 
not given, it remains that the virtual is the whole [le tout]. Let us recall that the 
elan vital is finite: the whole is what is realized in species, which are not in its 
image any more than they are the image of one another. Each simultaneously cor- 
responds to a certain degree of the whole and differs in nature from the others, 
such that the whole itself is presented at the same time as the difference of nature 
in reality, and as the coexistence of degrees in the mind. 

If the past coexists with itself as present, if the present is the most contracted 
degree of the coexistent past, then this same present, because it is the precise 
point at which the past is cast toward the future, is defined as that which changes 
nature, the always new, the eternity of life. 39 It is understandable that a lyric 
theme runs through Bergson's work: a veritable hymn in praise of the new, the 


BERGSON, 1859-1941 

unforeseeable, of invention, of liberty. Therein lies not a renunciation of philos- 
ophy, but a profound and original attempt to discover the proper domain of 
philosophy, to attain the thing itself beyond the order of the possible, of causes 
and ends. Finality, causality, possibility are always in relation to the thing once it 
is complete, and always presuppose that "everything" is given. When Bergson cri- 
tiques these notions, when he speaks to us of indeterminacy, he does not invite 
us to abandon reason but to reconnect with the true reason of the thing in the 
process of being made, the philosophical reason that is not determination but 
difference. We find the whole movement of Bergsonian thought concentrated in 
Matter and Memory in the triple form of difference of nature, coexistent degrees 
of difference, and differentiation. Bergson first shows us that there is a difference 
of nature between the past and the present, between recollection and perception, 
between duration and matter: psychologists and philosophers have been wrong 
by being in every case coming from a badly analyzed composite. He then shows 
us that it is still not enough to speak of a difference of nature between matter and 
duration, between the present and the past, because the whole question is pre- 
cisely to know what is a difference of nature: he shows that duration itself is this 
difference, such that it comprehends matter as its lowest, most relaxed degree, as 
an infinitely dilated past, and comprehends itself in contracting itself as an 
extremely narrow, tensed present. Finally, he shows us that if degrees coexist in 
duration, duration is at each instant that which is differentiated, that it is differ- 
entiated into past and present, or, if you prefer, that the present is doubled in two 
directions, one toward the past, the other toward the future. These three times 
correspond, in the whole of the work, to the notions of duration, memory, and 
elan vital. The project we find in Bergson's work, that of reconnecting things by 
breaking with critical philosophies, was not absolutely new, even in France, 
because it defined a general conception of philosophy, and in many of its aspects 
participated in English empiricism. But the method was profoundly new, as well 
as the three essential concepts that gave it its meaning. 


BergsorYs Conception of Difference 1 

The notion of difference promises to throw light on the philosophy of Bergson, 
and inversely, Bergsonism promises to make an inestimable contribution to a 
philosophy of difference. Such a philosophy is always at work on two different 
planes: the one methodological, and the other ontological. On the one hand, we 
must determine the differences of nature between things: only in this way will 
we be able "to return" to the things themselves, to account for them without 
reducing them to something other than what they are, to grasp them in their 
being. On the other hand, if the being of things is somehow in their differences 
of nature, we can expect that difference itself is something, that it has a nature, 
that it will yield Being. These two problems, methodological and ontological, 
constantly echo one another: the problem of the differences of nature, the prob- 
lem of the nature of difference. In Bergson's work, we encounter these two 
problems in their connection, surprising them in their passage back and forth. 

Essentially, Bergson criticizes his predecessors for not having seen true differences 
of nature. The constant presence of this critique also signals the importance of 
the theme in Bergson's work: where there were differences of nature, others have 
found merely differences of degree. And certainly we find the opposite criticism: 
where there were only differences of degree, others have introduced differences 
of nature, for example, between the so-called perceptive faculty of the brain and 
the reflexive functions of the medulla, or the perception of matter and matter 
itself. 2 This second aspect of the same critique, however, has neither the frequen- 
cy nor the importance of the first. To decide which is more important, we have 
to ask ourselves what is the aim of philosophy. If philosophy has a positive and 
direct relation to things, it is only insofar as philosophy claims to grasp the thing 
itself, according to what it is, in its difference from everything it is not, in other 
words, in its internal difference. Someone will object that internal difference 
makes no sense, such a notion is absurd; but then we would also have to deny 



differences of nature between things of the same kind. If differences of nature do 
exist between individuals of the same kind, we must then recognize that differ- 
ence itself is not simply spatio-temporal, that it is not generic or specific — in a 
word, difference is not exterior or superior to the thing. This is why, according 
to Bergson, it is important to show that general ideas, at least most of the time, 
ptesent us with extremely different facts in a grouping that is merely utilitarian: 
"Suppose on examining those states grouped under the name of pleasure, we dis- 
cover they share nothing in common, except being states that a person seeks out: 
humanity will have classified very different things as the same in kind, simply 
because humanity attributed the same practical interest to each and acted in the 
same way towards them.'" In this sense, differences of nature are already the key: 
we must start from them, but first we must find them. Without prejudging the 
nature of difference as internal difference, we already know that internal differ- 
ence exists, given that there exist differences of nature between things of the same 
genus. Therefore, either philosophy proposes for itself this means (differences of 
nature) and this end (to arrive at internal difference), or else it will have merely 
a negative or generic relation to things and will end up a part of criticism and 
mere generalities — in any case, it will run the risk of ending up in a merely exter- 
nal state of reflection. Opting for the first alternative, Bergson puts forward 
philosophy's ideal: to tailor "for the object a concept appropriate to that object 
alone, a concept that one can hardly still call a concept, since it applies only to 
that one thing." 4 This unity of the thing and the concept is internal difference, 
which one reaches through differences of nature. 

Intuition is the joy of difference. But intuition is not just enjoying the result 
of the method, it is the method. As such, it is not a unique act. It offers us a plu- 
rality of acts, a plurality of efforts and directions. 5 Intuition in its first effort is 
the determination of the differences of nature. And since these differences are 
between things, we are dealing with a genuine distribution, a genuine problem 
of distribution. One must carve up reality according to its articulations, 6 and 
Bergson willingly cites Plato's famous text on carving and the good cook. But the 
difference of nature between two things is still not the internal difference of the 
thing itself. From the articulations of the real must be distinguished factual lines 
which define another effort of the intuition. 7 And while Bergsonian philosophy 
seems genuinely "empirical" where articulations of the real are concerned, when 
it comes to factual lines it will seem "positivist" and even probabilistic. The artic- 
ulations of the real distribute things according to their differences of nature; they 
constitute differentiation. Factual lines are directions to be followed, each to its 
end, converging on one and the same thing; they define integration, each form- 
ing a line of probability. In L'Energie spirituelle, Bergson shows us the nature of 
consciousness at the point where three factual lines converge. 8 In Les Deux 
sources, the immortality of the soul is situated at the convergence of two factual 
lines. 9 Intuition in this sense is not opposed to the hypothesis; rather, intuition 



encompasses it as hypothesis. In short, the articulations of the real correspond to 
dissection or cutting [decoupage], and factual lines to intersection or cross-check- 
ing [ "recoupement" ]. w The real is what at the same time can be dissected and 
cross-checked. To be sure, in both cases, the pathways are the same; what mat- 
ters is the direction one takes them in, toward divergence or convergence. There 
are always two aspects of difference that we intuit: the articulations of the real 
give us differences of nature between things; factual lines show us the thing itself 
identical to its difference, internal difference identical to something. 

Neglecting differences of nature in favor of genres is like lying to philosophy. 
The differences of nature have been lost. We suddenly realize that science has 
substituted simple differences of degree in their place, and that metaphysics has 
prefered, more particularly, simple differences of intensity. The first question deals 
with science: how do we manage to see only differences of degree? "We dissolve 
qualitative differences into the space which underlies them."" As we know, Berg- 
son is referring to the conjugated operations of need, social life and language, 
intelligence and space, though space is what the intelligence makes of the matter 
that lends itself to intelligence. In a word, we substitute merely utilitarian modes 
of grouping for articulations of the real. However, this is not the most important 
point; utility cannot ground what makes it possible in the first place. Therefore, 
two other points must be emphasized. First, degrees do have effects in reality; 
and in a non-spatial form, they are in some way already included in the differ- 
ences of nature: "behind our qualitative distinctions" are usually numbers. 12 One 
of Bergson's more curious ideas is that difference itself has a number, a virtual 
number, a numbering number. Utility, then, only frees up and spreads out the 
degrees already included in difference, until difference is nothing more than a 
difference of degree. Second, if degrees can be freed up in this way and on their 
own form differences, we must look for the cause in the state of experience. What 
space presents to the understanding, and what understanding finds in space, are 
only things, i.e. products or results. However, between things (in the sense of 
results) there are never, and cannot ever be, anything but differences of propor- 
tion. 13 It is not things, nor the states of things, nor is it characteristics, that differ 
in nature; it is tendencies. This is why the conception of species-specific difference 
is unsatisfactory: we must closely follow not the presence of characteristics, but 
their tendency to develop. "The group will be defined no longer by the posses- 
sion of certain characteristics, but by its tendency to accentuate them." 14 Thus 
Bergson throughout his work shows that tendency is prior not only to its prod- 
uct, but also to the product's causes in time, since causes are always derived 
retroactively from the product itself: a thing in itself and in its true nature is the 
expression of a tendency prior to being the effect of a cause. In short, simple dif- 
ference of degree will be the correct status of things separated from their 
tendency and grasped in their elementary causes. Causes indeed fall within the 
scope of quantity. The human brain, for example, according to whether we grasp 



it in its product or its tendency, will present in comparison to the animal brain 
a simple difference of degree or a complete difference of nature. 15 Thus Bergson 
tells us that, from a certain point of view, differences of nature disappear or rather 
cannot appear. On static versus dynamic religion, he writes: "By adopting this 
point of view, one would perceive a series of transitions, something that looks 
like differences of degree, where in fact there are radical differences of nature." 
Things, products, results are always composite. Space only ever presents, and the 
intelligence only ever discovers composites, e.g. the closed and the open, geo- 
metric order and vital order, perception and affection, perception and 
recollection, etc. And one must understand that a composite is undoubtedly a 
blending of tendencies that differ in nature, but as such is a state of things in 
which it is impossible to make out any differences of nature. A composite is what 
one sees from that point of view where nothing differs in nature from anything 
else. The homogeneous is by definition composite, because what is simple is 
always something that differs in nature: only tendencies are simple, pure. That 
which really differs, therefore, can be found only by rediscovering the tendency 
beyond its product. Since we have nothing else at our disposal, we have to use 
whatever such composites provide, differences of degree or proportion, but only 
as a mesure of tendency, to arrive at tendency as the sufficient reason of propor- 
tion. "Wherever this difference of proportion is met will be sufficient to define 
the group, if one can establish that such a difference is not accidental and that 
the group, as it evolved, tended more and more to accentuate these particular 
characteristics." 17 

Metaphysics, for its part, has retained hardly anything except differences of 
intensity. Bergson shows us this view of intensity as it informs Greek meta- 
physics: because this latter defines space and time as a simple relaxation, a 
lessening of being, it discovers among beings themselves only differences of 
intensity, situating them somewhere between the two extremes of perfection and 
nothingness. 18 We will have to examine how this illusion comes about, and what 
in turn grounds it in the differences of nature themselves. For the moment, suf- 
fice it to say that such an illusion depends less on composite ideas than on 
pseudo-ideas, such as disorder or nothingness. But these pseudo-ideas are them- 
selves a kind of composite idea, 1 " and the illusion of intensity at bottom depends 
on the illusion of space. In the end, there is only one kind of false problem, prob- 
lems whose propositions fail to respect differences of nature. One of the roles 
intuition plays is to criticize the arbitrariness of such propositions. 

To reach genuine differences, we have to attain that perspective from which 
whatever is composite can be divided. Tendencies that come in paired opposites 
differ in nature. Tendency is the subject here. A being is not the subject, but the 
expression of tendency; furthermore, a being is only the expression of tendency 
in as much as one tendency is opposed by another tendency. Thus intuition sug- 
gests itself as a method of difference or division: to divide whatever is composite 



into two tendencies. This method is something other than a spatial analysis, 
more than a description of experience, and less (so it seems) than a transcenden- 
tal analysis. It reaches the conditions of the given, but these conditions are 
tendency-subjects, which are themselves given in a certain way: they are lived. 
What is more, they are at once the pure and the lived, the living and the lived, 
the absolute and the lived. What is essential here is that this ground is experi- 
enced, and we know how much Bergson insisted on the empirical character of the 
elan vital. Thus it is not the conditions of all possible experience that must be 
reached, but the conditions of real experience. Schelling had already proposed 
this aim and defined philosophy as a superior empiricism: this formulation also 
applies to Bergsonism. These conditions can and must be grasped in an intuition 
precisely because they are the conditions of real experience, because they are not 
broader than what is conditioned, because the concept they form is identical to 
its object. It will come as no surprise, then, that a kind of principle of sufficient 
reason, as well as indiscernibles, can be found in Bergson's work. What he rejects 
is a distribution that locates cause or reason in the genus and the category and 
abandons the individual to contingency, stranding him in space. Reason must 
reach all the way to the individual, the genuine concept all the way to the thing, 
and comprehension all the way to "this." Bergson always asks of difference: why 
"this" rather than "that"? Why will a perception call up one recollection rather 
than another? 20 Why will perception "gather" specific frequencies? Why these 
rather than others? 21 Why does duration exhibit such a tension? 22 In fact, the rea- 
son must be what Bergson calls nuance. There are no accidents in the life of the 
psyche: 25 its essence is nuance. As long as the concept that fits only the object 
itself has not been found, "the unique concept," we are satisfied with explaining 
the object by several concepts, general ideas "of which the object is supposed to 
partake." 24 What escapes then is that the object is this object rather than anoth- 
er of the same kind, and that the object in this genus has these proportions rather 
than some other proportions. Only tendency is the unity of the concept and its 
object, such that the object is no longer contingent, and the concept no longer 
general. These methodological clarifications, however, do not seem to avert the 
impasse where the method appears to be headed. Whatever is composite must be 
divided into two tendencies, but the differences of proportion in the mixture 
itself do not tell us how to find these tendencies, nor what is the rule of division. 
More importantly, given two tendencies, which is the right one? The two are not 
equivalent, they have different values: one tendency always predominates. Only 
the dominant tendency defines the true nature of whatever is composite; only the 
dominant tendency is the unique concept, it alone is pure, since it is the purity 
of the corresponding thing; the other tendency is the impurity that compromis- 
es the first and opposes it. So, animal behavior exhibits instinct as the dominant 
tendency, whereas in human behavior it is intelligence. In the composite of per- 
ception and affection, it is affection that plays the impure role and compromises 



pure perception. 25 In other words, there is a left-half to divide from a right-half. 
What rule or measure do we use to determine this? Here we rediscover a diffi- 
culty which Plato also encountered: how does one respond to Aristotle's remark 
that Plato's method of difference is just a feeble syllogism, unable to decide con- 
clusively in which half of the divided genus resides the Idea being sought after, 
since the middle term is missing? And Plato seems better off than Bergson, 
because the Idea of a transcendent Good can effectively guide the choice of the 
right half. In general, however, Bergson refuses help from finality, as though he 
wanted the method of difference to be self-sufficient. 

This difficulty may be illusory. We know that the articulations of the real do 
not define the essence and the aim of the method. Certainly, the difference of 
nature between two tendencies is an improvement over the difference of degree 
between things, as well as the difference of intensity between beings: and yet this 
difference remains external; it is still an external difference. At this point, 
Bergsonian intuition, to be complete, does not lack an external term which could 
serve as a rule; if anything, Bergsonian intuition still looks too external. Let's take 
an example: Bergson shows that abstract time is a composite of space and dura- 
tion, and more profoundly, that space itself is a composite of matter and 
duration, matter and memory. So we see the composite divided into two ten- 
dencies: matter is a tendency, since it is defined as a relaxation; and duration is a 
tendency, since it is a contraction. However, if we examine all the definitions, 
descriptions, and characteristics of duration in Bergson's work, we will notice 
that the difference of nature, in the end, is not between these two tendencies. In 
the end, the difference of nature is itself one of these tendencies, and opposes the 
other. So, then, what is duration? Everything Bergson has to say about it comes 
down to this: duration is what differs from itself. Matter, on the other hand, is 
what does not differ from itself; it is what repeats itself. In Donnees immediates, 
Bergson shows not only that intensity is a composite divided into two tenden- 
cies, but more importantly, that intensity is not a property of sensation; sensation 
is a pure quality, and a pure quality or sensation differs in nature from itself. Sen- 
sation is what changes in nature and not in magnitude. 26 The life of the psyche 
is therefore difference of nature itself: in the life of the psyche, there is always oth- 
erness without there being number or several} 1 Bergson distinguishes three sorts 
of movement: qualitative, evolutive, and extensive. But the essence of this move- 
ment, even pure transit like the race of Achilles, is alteration. Movement is 
qualitative change, and qualitative change is movement. 28 In a word, duration is 
what differs, and this is no longer what differs from other things, but what dif- 
fers from itself. What differs has itself become a thing, a substance. Bergson's 
thesis could be summed up in this way: real time is alteration, and alteration is 
substance. Difference of nature is therefore no longer between two things or 
rather two tendencies; difference of nature is itself a thing, a tendency opposed 
to some other tendency. The decomposition of the composite does not just give 



us two tendencies that differ in nature; it gives us difference of nature as one of 
the two tendencies. And just as difference has become a substance, so movement 
is no longer the characteristic of something, but has itself acquired a substantial 
character. It presupposes nothing else, no body in motion. 29 Duration or ten- 
dency is the difference of self with itself; and what differs from itself is, in an 
unmediated way, the unity of substance and subject. 

Now we know both how to divide the composite and how to choose the 
right tendency, since what differs from itself, namely duration, is always on the 
right side; duration is in each case revealed to us under an aspect, one of its 
"nuances." One cannot help notice, however, that in the case of what is com- 
posite, the same term can sometimes be on the right side, and sometimes on the 
left side. The division of animal behavior places intelligence on the left side 
because duration, the elan vital, is expressed as instincts through such behavior, 
whereas intelligence is on the right side for the analysis of human behavior. But 
intelligence cannot change sides without in turn revealing itself as an expression 
of duration, though in humanity now: if intelligence takes the form of matter, it 
has the sense of duration because intelligence is the organ that dominates mat- 
ter: a sense uniquely present in humanity. 30 It should come as no surprise that 
duration thus exhibits several aspects which are its nuances, since duration is 
what differs from itself. And to see a final nuance of duration in matter, one has 
only to go farther, to go all the way. But to understand this crucial point, we 
must keep in mind what difference has become. Difference is no longer between 
two tendencies; difference is itself one of the tendencies and is always on the right 
side. External difference has become internal difference. Difference of nature has 
itself become a nature. More than that, it was so from the beginning. Thus it was 
that the articulations of the real and facutal lines were relayed back and forth: the 
articulations of the real sketched factual lines which at least revealed internal dif- 
ference as the limit of their convergence, and conversely, factual lines gave us 
articulations of the real, e.g. the convergence of the three diverse lines, in Matter 
and Memory, leading to the true distribution of what belongs to the subject and 
what belongs to the object." Difference of nature was external only in appear- 
ance. In this very appearance, difference of nature was already distinguished from 
the difference of degree, the difference of intensity, and species-specific differ- 
ence. However, there are now other distinctions to be made in the state of 
internal difference: Duration can be presented as substance itself in so far as 
duration is simple, indivisible. Alteration must therefore maintain itself and 
achieve its status without allowing itself to be reduced to plurality, to contradic- 
tion, or even to alterity. Internal difference will have to distinguish itself from 
contradiction, alterity, and negation. This is precisely where Bergson's method and 
theory of difference are opposed to the other theory, the other method of differ- 
ence called dialectic, whether it's Plato's dialectic of alterity or Hegel's dialectic of 
contradiction, each of which imply the presence and the power of the negative. 



The originality of Bergson's conception resides in showing that internal differ- 
ence does not go, and is not required to go as far as contradiction, alterity, and 
negativity, because these three notions are in fact less profound than itself, or 
they are viewpoints only from the outside. The real sense of Bergson's endeavor 
is thinking internal difference as such, as pure internal difference, and raising dif- 
ference up to the absolute. 

Duration is only one of two tendencies, one of two halves. So, if we accept 
that it differs from itself in all its being, does it not contain the secret of the other 
half? How could it still leave external to itself that from which it differs, namely 
the other tendency? If duration differs from itself, that from which it differs is 
still duration in a certain sense. It is not a question of dividing duration in the 
same way we divided what is composite: duration is simple, indivisible, pure. 
The simple is not divided, it differentiates itself. This is the essence of the simple, 
or the movement of difference. So, the composite divides into two tendencies, 
one of which is the indivisible, but the indivisible differentiates itself into two 
tendencies, the other of which is the principle of the divisible. Space is broken 
up into matter and duration, but duration differentiates itself into contraction 
and relaxation; and relaxation is the principle of matter. Organic form is broken 
up into matter and elan vital, but the elan vital differentiates itself into instinct 
and intelligence; and intelligence is the principle of the transformation of matter 
into space. Clearly, the composite is not broken up in the same way that the sim- 
ple differentiates itself: the method of difference takes both these two movements 
together. But now this power of differentiation must be examined. It is this 
power which will lead us to the pure concept of internal difference. To determine 
such a concept, we will have to show in what way that which differs from dura- 
tion, i.e. the other half, can still be duration. 

In Duration and Simultaneity, Bergson attributes to duration a strange power, 
the ability to englobe itself, even while it splits itself up into fluxes and concen- 
trates itself in a single current, according to the nature of attention we pay to it. 32 
In Donnees immediates, we find the fundamental idea of virtuality, which will 
subsequently be taken up and developed in Matter and Memory: duration, the 
indivisible is not exactly that which does not allow itself to be divided; it is what 
changes its nature when it divides, and what changes its nature defines the vir- 
tual or the subjective. But the necessary clarifications are to be found in Creative 
Evolution. Biology shows us the process of differentiation at work. We are look- 
ing for a concept of difference that does not allow itself to be reduced to degree 
or intensity, to alterity or contradiction: such a difference is vital, even if the con- 
cept itself is not biological. Tife is the process of difference. In this instance, 
Bergson is thinking less of embryological differentiation than the differentiation 
of species, i.e. evolution. In his idea of evolution, Darwin helped associate the 
problem of difference with life, even though Darwin himself had a false concep- 
tion of vital difference. Opposing a particular mechanism, Bergson shows that 



vital difference is an internal difference. Furthermore, he shows that internal dif- 
ference cannot be conceived as a simple determination: a determination can be 
accidental, in any case it can get its being only from a cause, an end, or a coin- 
cidence; and this implies a subsisting exteriority; not to mention that the relation 
of several determinations is only one of association or addition.' 3 Not only is vital 
difference not a determination, but it is very much the opposite: it is indetermi- 
nation itself. Bergson always emphasizes the unforeseeable character of living 
forms: "they are indeterminate, by which I mean unforeseeable." 34 And in Berg- 
son's work, the unforeseeable, the indeterminate, is not accidental; on the 
contrary, it is essential, the negation of accident. By making difference a simple 
determination, either it is surrendered to chance, or it becomes necessary with 
respect to something but only by making it accidental with respect to life. Where 
life is concerned, however, the tendency to change is not accidental. ,5 Even more 
to the point, the changes themselves are not accidental, the elan vital "is the root 
cause of variations." 36 This is tantamount to saying that difference is not a deter- 
mination but, in its essential relation to life, a differentiation. Differentiation 
certainly comes from the resistence life encounters from matter, but it comes first 
and foremost from the explosive internal force which life carries within itself. 
"The essence of a vital tendency is to develop itself in the form of a spray, creat- 
ing by the sole power of its growth, the divergent directions its elan will 
pursue." 37 Virtuality exists in such a way that it actualizes itself as it dissociates 
itself; it must dissociate itself to actualize itself. Differentiation is the movement 
of a virtuality actualizing itself. Life differs from itself, so we are confronted by 
divergent lines of evolution and, on each line, orignal processes. Still, it is only 
with itself that life differs; consequently, also on each line, we are confronted by 
particular apparatuses, particular organ structures that are identical though 
obtained by different means. 38 Divergence of series, identity of particular appa- 
ratuses: this is the double movement of life as a whole. The notion of 
differentiation posits at once the simplicity of a virtual, the divergence of the series 
in which this virtual actualizes itself, and the resemblence of certain fundamental 
results produced in these series. Bergson explains just how important resemb- 
lence is as a biological category: 39 it is the identity of that which differs from 
itself; it proves that the same virtuality actualizes itself in the divergence of series; 
and it shows the essence subsisting in change, just as divergence shows the change 
itself at work in the essence. "What are the chances that two totally different evo- 
lutions, through two totally different series of accidents added together, end up 
with similar results?" 40 

In Les Deux sources, Bergson comes back to this process of differentiation: 
dichotomy is the law of life/' 1 But something new appears: alongside biological 
differentiation, there now appears a properly historical differentiation. Biological 
differentiation certainly has its principle in life itself, but it is none the less bound 
up with matter, such that its products remain separate, external to one another. 



"The materiality which they [the species] have given themselves, prevents them 
from fusing back together so as to reintroduce the original tendency, but 
stronger, more complex, and more evolved." 42 On the level of history, however, 
the tendencies constituted by dissociation evolve in the same individual or in the 
same society. From then on, these tendencies evolve successively but in the same 
being: humanity will go as far as it can in one direction, then turn around and 
go in the other direction." This text is all the more important since it is one of 
the few in which Bergson accords a specificity to the historical with respect to the 
vital. What does this mean? It means that difference becomes conscious and 
achieves self-consciousness in humanity and only in humanity. If difference itself 
is biological, the consciousness of difference is historical. True, the function of 
this historical consciousness of difference should not be exaggerated. According 
to Bergson, more than providing something new, it liberates what is already 
there. Consciousness was already there, with and in difference. Duration is all by 
itself consciousness, life all by itself is consciousness — but it is so by rights. 4,1 If 
history is what reanimates consciousness, or is the place where consciousness is 
reanimated and posited in fact, it is only because this consciousness identical to 
life had fallen asleep, had grown numb in matter — a voided consciousness, not 
an absence of consciousness. 45 Consciousness is not the least bit historical in 
Bergson's work; history is simply that point where consciousness pops up again, 
once it has traversed matter. Consequently, there exists by rights an identity 
between difference itself and the consciousness of difference: history is never any- 
thing other than a matter of fact. This identity by rights between difference and 
the consciousness of difference is memory; and it is memory that will give us the 
nature of the pure concept. 

Nevertheless, before we get there, we must examine how the process of dif- 
ferentiation is sufficient to distinguish Bergson's method from dialectic. The 
major similarity between Plato and Bergson is that they each created a philoso- 
phy of difference in which difference is thought as such; it is not reduced to 
contradiction and does not go as far as contradiction. 46 But the point where they 
part company (not the only point, but the most important) seems to be the nec- 
essary presence of a principle of finality in Plato: only the Good explains the 
difference of the thing and allows us to understand the thing in itself, as in the 
celebrated example of Socrates sitting in his prison cell. Therefore, in his 
dichotomy, Plato needs the Good as the rule to govern choice. There is no intu- 
ition in Plato, but there is inspiration by the Good. In this sense, at least one of 
Bergson's texts is Platonic: in Les Deux sources, he shows that one must examine 
functions if one hopes to uncover genuine articulations of the real. What is the 
function of each faculty? For example, what is the function of storytelling? 47 The 
thing gets its difference in this case from its use, its end, its purpose — from the 
Good. But we know that carving up reality, or the articulations of the real, is only 
a preliminary expression of the method. What governs the dissection of things is 



indeed their function, their end, such that they seem at this point to receive their 
very difference from outside themselves. Precisely, however, this is why Bergson 
both criticizes finality and does not restrict himself to the articulations of the real: 
the thing itself and its corresponding end are in fact one and the same thing, 
which on the one hand is seen as the composite it forms in space, and on the 
other, as difference and the simplicity of pure duration. 48 There is no longer any 
basis for speaking of finality: when difference has become the thing itself, there 
is no longer any basis for saying that the thing receives its difference from an end. 
Thus Bergson's conception of difference of nature allows him, unlike Plato, to 
avert any genuine recourse to finality. Similarly, using certain texts by Bergson, 
we can imagine the objections he would have had to a Hegelian-inspired dialec- 
tics, from which he is even more removed than Platonic dialectics. In Bergson, 
thanks to the notion of the virtual, the thing differs from itself first, immediate- 
ly. According to Hegel, the thing differs from itself because it differs first from 
everything it is not, and thus difference goes as far as contradiction. The distinc- 
tion between opposite and contradiction matter little in this context, since 
contradiction, like the opposite, is only the presentation of a whole. In both 
cases, difference has been replaced by the play of determination. "There is hard- 
ly any concrete reality on which one cannot hold two opposing views 
simultaneously; this reality, therefore, is subsumed under two antagonistic con- 
cepts." 49 The object is then reconstituted using these two points of view, or so it 
is claimed. For example, duration is supposedly the synthesis of unity and mul- 
tiplicity. However, if Bergson could object that Platonism goes no farther than a 
conception of difference as still external, the objection he would address to a 
dialectic of contradiction is that it gets no farther than a conception of difference 
as only abstract. "This combination [of two contradictory concepts] cannot pre- 
sent either a diversity of degrees or a variety of forms: it is, or it is not." 50 
Whatever entails neither degree nor nuance is an abstraction. Thus the dialectic 
of contradiction falls short of difference itself, which is the cause or reason of 
nuance. And in the end, contradiction is only one of the numerous retrospective 
illusions that Bergson denounces. What is differentiating itself in two divergent 
tendencies is a virtuality, and as such it is something absolutely simple that actu- 
alizes itself. We treat it as a real thing by composing it with the characteristic 
elements of two tendencies which, however, were created only in its very devel- 
opment. We think duration differs from itself because it is first the product of 
two contrary determinations, but we forget that it differentiated itself because it 
is first that which differs from itself. Everything comes back to Bergson's critique 
of the negative: his whole effort is aimed at a conception of difference without 
negation, a conception of difference that does not contain the negative. In his 
critique of disorder, as well as his critique of nothingness or contradiction, Berg- 
son tries to show that the negation of one real term by the other is only the 
positive actualization of a virtuality that contains both terms at once. "Struggle, 



in this instance, is only the superficial aspect of progress." 51 It is our ignorance of 
the virtual that makes us believe in contradiction and negation. The opposition 
of two terms is only the actualization of a virtuality that contained them both: 
this is tantamount to saying that difference is more profound than negation or 

Whatever the importance of differentiation, it is not what is most profound. 
If it were, there would be no reason to speak of a concept of difference: differ- 
entiation is an action, an actualization. What differentiates itself is first that 
which differs from itself, in other words, the virtual. Differentiation is not the 
concept, but the production of objects that finds its cause or reason in the con- 
cept. Only, if we accept that what differs from itself must be such a concept, then 
the virtual must have a consistancy, an objective consistancy that enables it to dif- 
ferentiate itself, to produce such objects. In those crucial pages devoted to 
Ravaisson, Bergson explains that there are two ways of determining what colors 
have in common. 52 Either we extract the abstract and general idea of color, and 
we do so by "effacing from red what makes it red, from blue what makes it blue, 
and from green what makes it green": then we are left with a concept which is a 
genre, and many objects for one concept. The concept and the object are two 
things, and the relation of the object to the concept is one of subsumption. Thus 
we get no farther than spatial distinctions, a state of difference that is external to 
the thing. Or we send the colors through a convergent lense that concentrates 
them on the same point: what we have then is "pure white light," the very light 
that "makes the differences come out between the shades." So, the different col- 
ors are no longer objects under a. concept, but nuances or degrees of the concept 
itself. Degrees of difference itself, and not differences of degree. The relation is 
no longer one of subsumption, but one of participation. White light is still a uni- 
versal, but a concrete universal, which gives us an understanding of the particular 
because it is the far end of the particular. Because things have become nuances 
or degrees of the concept, the concept itself has become a thing. It is a universal 
thing, if you like, since the objects look like so many degrees, but a concrete 
thing, not a genus or a generality. Properly speaking, there is no longer many 
objects for one concept; the concept is identical to the thing itself. But it is not 
the resemblance of objects; the concept is the difference between them, to which 
they are related. This is internal difference: the concept which has become a con- 
cept of difference. To achieve this superior philosophical goal, what was required? 
We had to give up thinking in terms of space: the spatial distinction "does not 
entail degrees." 53 Spatial differences had to be replaced by temporal differences. 
And what properly belongs to internal difference is this: it makes the concept a 
concrete thing, because things are just nuances or degrees present within the con- 
cept. It is in this sense that Bergsonism has put difference, and the concept along 
with it, into time. "If the mind has a modest role to play by connecting the suc- 
cessive moments of the thing, and if the mind through this operation makes 



contact with matter, and if it is through matter that it is first distinguished, then 
an infinity of degrees between matter and a fully developed mind can be con- 
ceived."" 4 The distinctions between subject and object, body and mind, are 
temporal and so a matter of degree — but they are not simple differences of 
degree. 55 Now we see how the virtual becomes the pure concept of difference, and 
what such a concept entails: it is the possible coexistence of degrees or nuances. If in 
spite of this apparent paradox, we label this possible coexistence memory, as Berg- 
son himself does, we must conclude that the elan vital is less profound than 
duration. Duration, memory, and elan vital are the three aspects of the concept that 
can be distinguished with precision. Duration is difference from itself; memory is 
the coexistence of degrees of difference; the elan vital Is the differentiation of dif- 
ference. These three stages define a schematizism in Bergson's philosophy. The 
role of memory is to give the virtuality of duration itself an objective consisten- 
cy which makes it a concrete universal, and enable it to actualize itself. When 
virtuality actualizes itself, that is to say, differentiates itself, it is through life and 
in a vital form. In this sense, it is true that difference is vital. But virtuality was 
able to differentiate itself using only the degrees that coexist within it. Differen- 
tiation is only the separation of what coexisted in duration. The differentiations 
of the elan vital arc, in a more profound way, the degrees of difference itself. And 
the products of differentiation are objects in absolute conformity with the object, 
at least in their purity, because they are in fact nothing other than the compli- 
mentary position of the different degrees of the concept itself. It is in this sense 
again that the theory of differentiation is less profound than the theory of 
nuances or degrees. 

The virtual now defines an absolutely positive mode of existence. Duration 
is the virtual; this degree of duration is real, to the extent that this degree differ- 
entiates itself. For example, duration is not in itself psychological, but the 
psychological represents a particular degree of duration that is actualized between 
other degrees as well as among them. 56 Certainly, the virtual is the mode of that 
which does not act, since it will act only by differentiating itself, by ceasing to be 
in itself, even as it keeps something of its origin. Precisely, however, it follows that 
the virtual is the mode of what is. This thesis of Bergson's is particularly famous: 
the virtual is a pure recollection, and pure recollection is difference. Pure recol- 
lection is virtual because it would be absurd to look for a mark of the past in 
something actual and already actualized. 57 Recollection is not the representation 
of something, it doesn't represent — it simply is. Or if we must speak of repre- 
sentation, a recollection "does not represent something which has been, but 
simply something that is., .it is a recollection of the present. "™ A recollection is not 
waiting to come about; it is not waiting to be formed; it is not waiting for the 
perception to disappear. Recollection is not posterior to perception. The coexis- 
tence of the past with the present which has been is an essential theme ofBergsonism. 
According to these characteristics, however, when we say that recollection thus 



defined is difference itself, we are saying two things at once. On the one hand, 
pure recollection is difference because no memory resembles any other memory, 
because each memory is immediately perfect, because it is all at once what it will 
always be: difference is the object of recollection, just as resemblance is the object 
of perception." It is enough to dream to gain access to this world where nothing 
resembles anything else; a pure dreamer would never leave the particular, he 
would grasp only differences. On the other hand, recollection is difference in still 
another sense: it contributes difference; because if it is true that the demands of 
the present introduce some resemblance between our recollections, it is also true 
that recollection introduces difference into the present, in the sense that recol- 
lection constitutes, each subsequent moment, something new. Precisely because 
the past is preserved, "the subsequent moment always contains, in addition to the 
previous moment, the recollection which this previous moment has left 
behind.""" "Internal duration is the continued life of memory prolonging the 
past in the present, whether the present directly contains the ceaselessly growing 
image of the past, or whether by virtue of its continual change in quality, the pre- 
sent bears witness to the increasingly heavy baggage one drags along as one grows 
older." 61 In a different way than Freud, though just as profound, Bergson saw 
that memory was a function of the future, that memory and will were the same 
function, that only a being capable of memory could turn away from its past, free 
itself from the past, not repeat it, and do something new. Thus the word "differ- 
ence" at once designates the particular that is and the new that is coming about. 
Recollection is defined both in relation to the perception with which it is con- 
temporaneous, and in relation to the subsequent moment in which it is 
prolonged. When we unite the two meanings, we get a strange impression: that 
of acting and being acted on at the same time. 62 But how can we avoid uniting 
them, since my perception is already the subsequent moment? 

Let's begin with the second meaning. We know the importance Bergson 
attributes to this idea of newness, in his theory of the future and his theory of 
freedom. But we have to examine this notion more precisely, at the moment of 
its formation in the second chapter of the Essai. Saying that the past is preserved 
in itself and that it is prolonged in the present is tantamount to saying that the 
subsequent moment appears without the disapparence of the previous moment. 
This presupposes a contraction, and contraction defines duration. 63 What is 
opposed to contraction is pure repetition or matter: repetition is the mode of a 
present that appears only when the other present has disappeared — the present 
itself, or exteriority, vibration, relaxation. Contraction, on the other hand, desig- 
nates difference because difference in its essence makes a repetition impossible, 
because it destroys the very condition of any possible repetition. In this sense, 
difference is the new, newness itself. But how does one define the appearance of 
something new in general?. It is in the second chapter of the Essai that Bergson 
takes up this problem, which is most famously associated with Hume. Hume 



posed the problem of causality by asking how a pure repetition, a repetition of 
similar cases which produce nothing new, can nevertheless produce something 
new in the mind looking on. This "something new" is the expectation the thou- 
sandth time around — there you have difference. Hume's response was that if 
repetition produces a difference in the the mind looking on, it is by virtue of the 
principles of human nature and especially the principle of habit. When Bergson 
analyzes the example of ticks of the clocks or the sounds of a hammer striking, 
he poses the problem in the same way as Hume, and resolves it similarly: any- 
thing new produced is not in the objects, but in the mind: it is a "fusion," an 
"interpenetration," an "organization," a preservation of the precedent, which has 
not disappeared when the subsequent appears. In a word, it is a contraction that 
occurs in the mind. The similarity between Hume and Bergson goes even farther: 
just as in Hume similar cases blend together in the imagination yet at the same 
time remain distinct in the understanding, so in Bergson states blend together in 
duration yet at the same time preserve something of the exteriority from which 
they come; it is with this last point that Bergson explains the construction of 
space. So, contraction initially happens in the mind, as it were; contraction is the 
origin of the mind; it gives birth to difference. Afterwards, but only afterwards, 
the mind appropriates it for its own use; the mind contracts and is contracted, 
as we see in Bergson's theory of freedom. 6 ' But it is enough for us to have grasped 
the notion in its origin. 

Not only do duration and matter differ in nature, but what differs in this 
way is difference as well as repetition. We again encounter an old difficulty: at 
one and the same time, difference of nature was between two tendencies and, 
more profoundly, was one of the two tendencies. And these were not the only 
states of difference, there were still two others: the privileged tendency, the ten- 
dency on the right side was differentiated in two, and it was able to differentiate 
itself because, more profoundly, there are degrees in difference. What we must 
do now is regroup these four states: 1) difference of nature, 2) internal difference, 
3) differentiation, and 4) degress of difference. The common thread is that (inter- 
nal) difference differs (in nature) from repetition. Clearly, however, this does not 
add up: difference is said both to be internal and to differ externally. But if we 
are able to glimpse the outlines of a solution, it is only because Bergson is intent 
on showing us that difference is still a repetition, and repetition is already a dif- 
ference. Repetition, or matter, is indeed a difference; the oscillations are clearly 
distinct in as much as "one disappears when the other appears." Bergson does not 
deny that science tries to attain difference itself and is able to succeed; he sees 
such an endeavor in infinitesimal analysis: a genuine science of difference. 65 More 
than that, when Bergson shows us the dreamer so immersed in the particular that 
he grasps only pure differences, he tells us that this region of the mind rejoins 
matter, that to dream is to be indifferent, to disinterest onself. It would thus be 
a mistake to confuse repetition with generality, because generality presupposes 



the contraction of the mind. Repetition creates nothing in the object; it lets the 
object persist, and even maintains it in its particularity. Repetition does indeed 
form objective genuses, but these genuses are not in themselves general ideas 
because they do not englobe a plurality of objects that resemble one another; 
they present to us only the particularity of an object that repeats itself identical 
to itself. 6 " Repetition is thus a kind of difference; only, it's a difference always out- 
side itself, a difference indifferent to itself. Conversely, difference is in turn a 
repetition. Indeed we saw that difference, in its very origin and in the act of this 
origin, was a contraction. But what is the effect of this contraction? It raises into 
coexistence what was elsewhere repeated. The mind, in its origin, is only the con- 
traction of identical elements, and by virtue of this, it is memory. Whenever 
Bergson discusses memory, he presents two aspects of it, the second of which is 
the more profound: memory-recollection and memory-contraction. 67 By con- 
tracting itself, the element of repetition coexists with itself — one might say, 
multiplies itself and maintains itself. Thus the degrees of contraction are defined, 
each of which presents at its level the coexistence with itself of the element itself, 
in other words, the whole. There is no paradox in defining memory as coexis- 
tence itself, since all possible degrees of coexistence in turn coexist and constitute 
memory. The identical elements of material repetition blend together in a con- 
traction; this contraction presents both something new, i.e. difference, and 
degrees which are the degrees of this difference itself. It is in this sense that dif- 
ference is still a repetition. Bergson constantly comes back to this theme: "The 
same psychological life would thus be repeated an indefinite number of times, in 
the sucessive stages of memory, and the same act of the mind could be played out 
at many different levels"; 68 the sections of the cone are "just so many repetitions 
of our whole past life"; 69 "it is almost as if our memories were repeated an indef- 
inite number of times in the thousands and thousands of possible reductions of 
our past life." 70 One sees the distinction left to be made between psychic repeti- 
tion and material repetition: it is at the same moment that all our past life is 
indefinitely repeated; the repetition is virtual. What is more, the virtuality has no 
other consistancy than what it receives from this original repetition. "These 
planes are not presented... as ready-made things, superimposed on one another. 
Rather, they exist in a virtual way, having that existence proper to things of the 
mind."" 1 At this point, we could almost say that for Bergson, matter is succession 
and duration is coexistence: "A sufficiently powerful attention to life, and suffi- 
ciently removed from any practical purpose, could embrace the entire past 
history of the conscious person in an undivided present." 72 But duration is a 
coexistence of a whole other kind: it is real coexistence, simultaneity. This is why 
the virtual coexistence that defines duration is at the same time a real succession, 
whereas matter in the end presents us less with a succession than the simple 
material of a simultaneity: real coexistence, juxtaposition. In a word, psychic 
degrees are just so many virtual planes of contraction or levels of tension. Bergson's 



philosophy comes to completion in a cosmology where everything is changes in 
tension, changes in energy, and nothing else. 71 Duration as it is given to intuition 
shows itself capable of thousands of possible tensions, an infinite diversity of 
relaxations and contractions. Bergson criticized the combination of antagonistic 
concepts for being able to give us a thing only in a monolithic aspect, without 
degrees or nuances. Intuition, on the other hand, gives us "a choice among an 
infinity of possible durations," 71 "a continuity of durations that we must try to 
follow all the way to the bottom, or all the way to the top." 7 ' 

Have the two senses of difference been rejoined: difference as particularity 
that is, and difference as personality, indetermination, newness that creates 
itself? Particularity is given as maximum relaxation, a spreading out, an expan- 
sion; in the sections of the cone, it's the base that carries memories in their 
individual form. "Memories take a more banal form when memory contracts, 
and they take a more personal form when memory expands." 76 The more the 
contraction relaxes, the more individual are the memories; they are more dis- 
tinct from each other, too, and more localized."" The particular is located at the 
limit of relaxation or contraction, and its movement will be prolonged by the 
matter which it prepares. Matter and duration are the two extreme levels of 
relaxation and contraction, just as in duration itself, two extreme levels of relax- 
ation and contraction are the pure past and the pure present, memory and 
perception. We see, then, the present is defined in its opposition to particulari- 
ty, as resemblance or even universality. A being that lived in the pure present 
would evolve in the universal, "with habit being to action what generality is to 
thought." 78 But the two terms opposed in this way are only two extreme degrees 
that coexist. Opposition is always nothing but the virtual coexistence of two 
extreme degrees: a recollection coexists with that which it recalls, with its corre- 
sponding perception; the present is only the most contracted degree of memory, 
an immediate past. 7 " Between these extremes, then, we will find all the interme- 
diate degrees, which are the degrees of generality, or rather that which constitute 
the general idea. Now we see to what extent matter was not generality: true gen- 
erality presupposes a perception of resemblances, a contraction. The general 
idea is a dynamic whole, an oscillation; "the essence of the general idea is to 
move constantly from the sphere of action to the sphere of pure memory," "it is 
the twofold current passing back and forth." 8 " However, we know that the inter- 
mediate degrees between extremes are capable of recreating these extremes as the 
very products of a differentiation. We know that a theory of degrees is the basis 
for a theory of differentiation: in memory, two degrees only have to be opposed 
to one another for them to become at the same time the differentiation of an 
intermediary into two tendencies or movements that are distinct in nature. 
Because the present and the past are two inverse degrees, they are distinct in 
nature; they are the differentiation, the bifurcation of the whole. Every moment 
duration splits into two symmetrical streams, "one of which falls back toward 



the past, while the other is projected toward the future." 81 Saying that the pre- 
sent is the most contracted degree of the past is tantamount to saying that the 
present is in nature opposed to the past, that the present is an imminent future. 
Here is the second meaning of difference: something new. But what exactly is 
new here? The general idea is the whole which differentiates itself in particular 
images and bodily attitude, but this very differentiation is still the whole of the 
degrees going from one extreme to the next, inserting the one in the other. 82 The 
general idea places the recollection in the action, organizes recollections with 
acts, transforms recollection into perception — and more precisely, it makes the 
images which have issued from the past itself, "increasingly capable of being 
inserted into the driving schema." 8 ' The function of the general idea is this: to 
put the particular in the universal. What is new here, the newness, is precisely 
that the particular is in the universal. The new is clearly not the pure present: 
the pure present, as well as the particular memory, tend toward the state of mat- 
ter, not by virtue of its spreading out, but its instantaneity. But when the 
particular descends into the universal, or recollection into movement, the auto- 
matic act leaves room for voluntary and free action. This new belongs to a being 
that, simultaneously, comes and goes from the universal to the particular, 
opposes them, and puts the particular in the universal. Such a being simultane- 
ously thinks, desires, recollects. In short, it is the degrees of generality that unite 
and reunite the two meanings of difference. 

Bergson can leave many readers with a certain impression of vagueness and 
incoherence: vagueness, because we learn in the end that difference is the 
unforeseeable, indetermination itself; and incoherence, because he seems to 
recycle for his own purposes the same notions he just finished criticizing. We see 
him attacking degrees, and here they come front and center in duration itself, 
to the point that Bergsonism seems a philosophy of degrees: "One moves by 
imperceptible degrees from recollections deposited throughout time to move- 
ments that outline nascent or possible action in space," 84 "recollection is thus 
gradually transformed into perception"; 85 "similarly, there are degrees of liber- 
ty." 8 " Berson especially attacks intensity, and yet relaxation and contraction are 
invoked as fundamental principles of explanation; "between brute matter and 
the most reflective mind, are all the possible intensities of memory or, what 
amounts to the same thing, all the degrees of liberty." 87 Finally, Bergson attacks 
the negative and opposition, but they slip in the backdoor with inversion: geo- 
metrical order partakes of the negative, it comes from "the inversion ofgenuive 
positivity," "from an interruption"; 88 and if we compare science and philosophy, 
we see that science is not relative, but "is about a reality of an inverse order." 89 

This impression of incoherence, however, I believe is unjustified. It is true 
that Bergson does come back to degrees, but not to differences of degree. His 
idea is this: there are no differences of degree in nature, only degrees of difference 
itself. Theories that rely on differences of degree mix everything up, because they 



fail to see differences of nature; they lose themselves in space and in the com- 
posites which space gives us. Furthermore, that which differs in nature is in the 
end that which differs in nature from itself, consequently, that from which it dif- 
fers is only its lowest degree; this is duration, defined as difference of nature 
itself. When the difference of nature between two things has become one of the 
two things, the other of the two is only the last degree of the first. So it is that 
difference of nature, when it appears in person, is exactly the virtual coexistence 
of two extreme degrees. Since they are extremes, the twofold current passing 
between them forms intermediate degrees. These constitute the principle of 
composites and make us believe in differences of degree, but only if we exam- 
ine them for themselves, forgetting that the extremities which they unite are two 
things that differ in nature. In fact, the extremities are degrees of difference 
itself. Therefore, that which differs is relaxation and contraction, matter and 
duration as the degrees, the intensities of difference. And in general, if Bergson 
does not thus simply fall back on differences of degree, neither does he come 
back to differences of intensity in particular. Relaxation and contraction are the 
degrees of difference itself only because they are opposed, in as much as they are 
opposed. As extremes, they are the inverse of each other. Bergson criticizes meta- 
physics for not having seen that relaxation and contraction are the inverse of 
each other; metaphysics believed they were only two more or less intense 
degrees in the degradation of the same immobile, stable, eternal Being.™ In fact, 
just as degrees are explained by difference and not the reverse, so intensities are 
explained by inversion and presuppose it. There is no immobile and stable 
Being as principle; the point of departure is contraction itself; it is duration, 
whose relaxation is inversion. Bergson's concern with finding a genuine begin- 
ning, a genuine point of departure, shows up again and again, e.g. perception 
and affection: "we will begin with action instead of affection because nothing 
can be said of affection, since there is no reason for it to be what it is rather than 
something else." 91 But why is relaxation the inverse of contraction, and not con- 
traction the inverse of relaxation? Because philosophy precisely begins with 
difference, and because difference of nature is that duration of which matter is 
only the lowest degree. Difference is the genuine beginning; it is in this respect 
that Bergson most diverges from Schelling, at least in appearance. By beginning 
with something else, on the other hand, some immobile and stable Being, indif- 
ference becomes posited as first principle, less is mistaken for more, and a simple 
view of intensities becomes inevitable. However, when Bergson makes inversion 
the basis for intensity, he seems to escape this view only to come back to nega- 
tivity, to opposition. Again, in this instance, such an objection is not entirely 
exact. Ultimately, the opposition of the two terms that differ in nature is only 
the positive actualization of a virtuality that contained them both. The role of 
the intermediate degrees resides precisely in this actualization: they insert one in 
the other, the recollecrion in the movement. So, in my view, there is no inco- 



herence in Bergson's philosophy, but there is a profound reconsideration of the 
concept of difference. Nor do I believe that indetermination is a vague concept. 
Indetermination, the unforeseeable, contingency, freedom — these all signify a 
certain independence with respect to causes: in this sense, Bergson honors the 
elan v/to/with many contingencies.'" What he means is that the thing is in a cer- 
tain way prior to causes; we must begin with the thing because the causes come 
after. Indetermination, however, always only means that the thing or the action 
could have been otherwise. "Could the act have been other?" That is a mean- 
ingless question. What Bergson demands of himself is to make us understand 
why a thing is itself rather than something else. What explains the thing itself is 
difference, not the causes of the thing. "Freedom must be sought in a particu- 
lar nuance or quality of the action itself and not in a relation of this act with 
what it is not or what it could have been." 93 Bergsonism is a philosophy of dif- 
ference, a philosophy of the actualization of difference: in it we meet difference 
in person, which actualizes itself as the new. 


Jean- Jacques Rousseau: Precursor 
of Kafka, Celine, and Ponge 1 

There are two ways we risk misjudging a great writer: 1) by failing to recognize 
the profound logic or the systematic character of his work (we then talk of his 
"incoherencies" as though they gave us superior pleasure); and 2), by failing to 
recognize his comic genius and power, from which the work generally draws the 
greater part of its anti-conformist efficacy (we prefer to speak of his anguish and 
tragic aspect). In fact, whoever does not laugh out loud while reading Kafka does 
not truly admire Kafka. These two rules of thumb are especially invaluable for 

In one of his most famous theses, Rousseau explains that humanity in the 
state of nature is good, or at least not mean. Such a proposition is neither from 
the heart nor a manifestation of optimism; it is a logical manifesto at its most 
precise. What Rousseau means is this: humanity, as supposed in a state of nature, 
cannot be mean, since the objective conditions that make human meanness and 
its exercise possible do not exist in nature itself. The state of nature is a state in 
which humanity has a relationship with things, not with one another (or only 
fleetingly). "Men, if you will, would attack one another in their encounters, but 
they encountered one another infrequently. There prevailed everywhere a state of 
war, and all the earth was at peace." 2 The state of nature is not only a state of 
independence, but a state ofisolation. One of Rousseau's constant themes is that 
need is not a factor which brings people together: it does not unite, it isolates 
each of us. Being limited, our needs in a state of nature necessarily reach a kind 
of equilibrium with our powers and acquire a kind of self-sufficiency. Even sex- 
uality in a state of nature engenders only fleeting encounters or leaves us in 
solitude. (Rousseau has much to say and says a great deal on this point, which is 
like the humorous flip-side of a profound theory.) 

How could people be mean when the conditions are absent? The conditions 
which make meanness possible are those of any determined social state. There is 
no such thing as disinterested meanness, despite what imbeciles and mean people 



sometimes say. All meanness is profit or compensation. There is no human 
meanness that is not inscribed within relationships of oppression, in accordance 
with complex social interests. Rousseau is one of those writers who knew how to 
analyze the relations of oppression and the social structures they presuppose. We 
will have to wait for Engels to come along before this principle of an extreme 
logic will be called upon and renewed: viz., that violence or oppression does not 
constitute a primordial fact, but supposes a civil state, social situations, and eco- 
nomic determinations. If Robinson enslaves Friday, it is not due to Robinson's 
natural disposition, and it is not by the power of his fist; he does it with a small 
capital and the means of production which he saved from the depths, and he 
does it to subjugate Friday to social tasks, the ideas of which Robinson has not 
lost in his shipwreck. 

Society constantly puts us in situations where it is in our interest to be mean. 
Our vanity would have us believe that we are naturally mean. But the truth is 
much worse: we become mean without knowing it, without even realizing it. It 
is difficult to be someone's heir without unconsciously wishing for their death 
now and then. "In such situations, however sincere a love of virtue we bring to 
them, we weaken sooner or later without noticing it, and we become unjust and 
mean in fact, without having ceased to be good and just in soul." It seems, how- 
ever, that the beautiful soul is strangely destined to be thrown again and again 
into the most ambiguous situations, from which it extirpates itself only with 
great pain. We see the beautiful soul play on its own tenderness and timidity to 
extract from the worst situations those elements that allow it nevertheless to keep 
its virtue intact. "From this continual opposition between my situation and my 
inclinations, we will witness the birth of enormous faults, unheard of misfor- 
tunes, and every virtue except power, that can be a credit to adversity.'" To find 
oneself in impossible situations is the destiny of the beautiful soul. This extraor- 
dinary comedy of situations is the source of all Rousseau's gusto. If Rousseau's 
Confessions end up being a tragic and hallucinatory book, they begin as one of 
the most joyful books in literature. Even his vices manage to preserve Rousseau 
from the meanness into which they could have led him; and Rousseau excels at 
the analysis of these ambivalent and salutary mechanisms. 

The beautiful soul is not content with the state of nature; it affectionately 
dreams of human relationships. These relationships, however, are realizable only 
in the most delicate situations. We know that Rousseau's love-dream is to dis- 
cover the figures of a lost Trinity: either the woman whom he loves loves another 
man, who will be like a father or brother; or there are two women whom he 
loves, one of them a strict mother quick to punish, and the other a gentle moth- 
er who brings about rebirth. (Rousseau already pursues this quest for two 
mothers in one of his childhood loves.) But the actual situations that incarnate 
this revery are always ambiguous. They turn out badly: either we behave poor- 
ly, or we end up the odd man out, or both. Rousseau will not recognize this 



affectionate re very in Theresa and Theresas mother, a greedy and disagreeable 
woman rather than a strict mother. Nor will he recognize it when Mme. de Warens 
wants Rousseau himself to play the role of big brother to her latest infatuation. 

Rousseau often, and joyfully, explains that his ideas are slow and his feelings 
quick. But his slow-forming ideas emerge all of the sudden in his life, give him 
new directions, and inspire him to invent strange things. With poets and 
philosophers, we must love even those manias and bizarre behaviors which bear 
witness to combinations of idea and feeling. Thomas de Quincey developed a 
method meant to inspire us with love for great writers. In an article on Kant 
("The Last Days of Emmanuel Kant," translated by Schwob),' Quincey describes 
the extremely complex device that Kant had invented to serve as a shoe-holder. 
The same goes for Rousseau's Armenian outfit when he used to live in Motiers 
and weave "braids" on his stoop while chatting with the women. — What we see 
in these examples are real ways of life; they are thinkers' anecdotes. 

How do we avoid those situations in which it is in our interest to be mean? 
Certainly, by an act of will, a strong soul can affect the situation itself and mod- 
ify it. For example, a legal heir can renounce his rights so as not to wish the death 
of his relative. Similarly, m Julie, or the New Heloise, Julie accepts the commitment 
not to marry Saint-Preux, even if her husband happens to die: this is how "she 
transforms the secret interest she had in her husband's demise into an interest in 
his preservation." 6 But Rousseau, by his own admission, is not a strong soul. He 
loves virtue more than he is virtuous. Except for matters of inheritance, he has 
too much imagination to embrace renunciation willingly in advance. He will 
therefore require subtle devices of another kind to avoid tempting situations or 
to get himself out of them. He plays on everything, including his bad health, to 
keep his virtuous aspirations intact. He himself explains how his bladder troubles 
were an essential factor in his great moral reform: fearing that he might not be 
able to contain himself in the presence of the king, he prefers instead to renounce 
his pension. Illness inspires him, like a sense ofhumor (Rousseau tells of his ear 
trouble with a gusto similar to Celine's much later). But humor is the flip-side of 
morality: he would sooner be a music-copyist than a pensioner of the king. 

In Julie, or the New Heloise, Rousseau elaborates a profound method, perfect 
for averting dangerous situations. A situation does not tempt us uniquely of 
itself, but thanks to the full weight of a past that informs it. It is the search for 
the past in present situations, the repetition of the past that inspires our most 
violent passions and temptations. We always love in the past, and passions are 
first and foremost an illness proper to memory. To cure Saint-Preux and lead him 
back to virtue, M. de Wolmar uses a method by which he wards off the prestige 
of the past. He forces Julie and Saint-Preux to embrace in the same grove which 
witnessed their first moments of love: "Julie, there is no more reason to fear this 
sanctuary, it has just been profaned." 7 It is Saint-Preux's present interest that he 
wants to make virtuous: "it's not Julie de Wolmar that he loves, it's Julie d'Etange; 



he doesn't hate me as the possessor of the woman he loves, but as the seducer of 
the woman he loved... He loves her in the past; there you have the key to the puz- 
zle: take away his memory, and he will love no more." 8 It is in relation to objects, 
to places, e.g. a grove, that we learn the passing of time, and that we eventually 
know how to want in the future, instead of being passionate in the present. 

The two poles of Rousseau's philosophical work are Emile and the Social 
Contract. The root of evil in modern society is that we are no longer either pri- 
vate individuals or public citizens: each of us has become "homo oeconomicus" in 
other words, "bourgeois," motivated by profit. Those situations which give us a 
stake in being mean always imply relationships of oppression, where one enters 
into a relationship with another: to command or to obey, master or slave. Emile 
is the reconstitution of the private individual; the Social Contract, that of the 
citizen. Rousseau's first pedagogical rule is the following: by restoring our natural 
relationship with things, we will manage to reeducate ourselves as private indi- 
viduals, thus preserving us from those all too human, artificial relationships 
which from early childhood inculcate in us a dangerous tendency to command. 
(And the same tendency that makes us tyrants makes us slaves.) "Children, when 
they make it their right to be obeyed, leave behind the state of nature almost at 
birth." 9 True pedagogical rectification consists in subordinating human rela- 
tions to the relation of human beings to things. The taste for things is a constant 
in Rousseau's work (Francis Ponge's studies have something Rousseau-like about 
them). Thus we have the famous rule from Emile, which demands only muscle: 
Never bring things to the child, bring the child to the things. 

The private individual, by virtue of his relation to things, has already ward- 
ed off the infantile situation that gives him a stake in being mean. But the citizen 
is one who enters into relationships with others, such that it is precisely in his 
interest to be virtuous. To create an objective, actual situation wherein justice and 
self-interest are reconciled is for Rousseau the proper task of politics. And virtue 
here again returns to its deepest meaning, which harks back to the public deter- 
mination of the citizen. The Social Contract is surely one of the great books of 
political philosophy. Rousseau's birthday is but an occasion to read or reread it. 
In it the citizen learns about the mystification of the separation of powers, and 
how the Republic is defined by the existence of a sole power, the legislative. As it 
appears in Rousseau, the analysis of the concept of law will dominate philo- 
sophical reflection for a long time to come, and dominates it still. 


The Idea of Genesis in Kant's Esthetics 1 

The difficulties of Kantian esthetics in the first part of the Critique of Judgment 
have to do with the diversity of points of view. On the one hand, Kant propos- 
es an esthetics of the spectator, as in the theory of the judgment of taste; on the 
other, an esthetics or meta-esthetics of the creator, as in the theory of genius. 
Then again, he proposes an esthetics of the beautiful in nature, but also an 
esthetics of the beautiful in art. Sometimes it's a "classically" inspired esthetics of 
form, and sometimes a meta-esthetics of matter and Idea, which is closer to 
romanticism. The systematic unity of the Critique of Judgment can be established 
only by encompassing these various points of view and understanding the neces- 
sary transitions between them. Such a comprehension must explain the apparent 
organizational difficulties, in other words, both the place of the Analytic of the 
Sublime (sandwiched between the Analytic of the Beautiful and the deduction of 
the judgments of taste), and the place of the theory of art and genius (at the end 
of the deduction). 

The judgment of taste — "this is beautiful" — expresses an agreement of two 
faculties in the spectator: the imagination and the understanding. The judgment 
of taste can be distinguished from the judgment of preference because the judg- 
ment of taste lays claim to a certain necessity, a certain a priori universality. It 
thus borrows understanding's legality. In this instance, however, the legality does 
not appear under determinate concepts. The universality of the judgment of taste 
is one of pleasure; the beautiful thing is singular and remains without concept. 
The understanding intercedes as the faculty of concepts in general, though any 
determinate concept has here been set aside. The imagination, on its side, has 
free reign since it is no longer constrained by any particular concept. When the 
imagination agrees with understanding in the judgment of taste, it means that a 



free imagination agrees with an indeterminate understanding. This expression of 
agreement, which is itself free and undetermined, between the imagination and 
the understanding, properly belongs to the judgment of taste. Consequently, 
esthetic pleasure is far from being prior to judgment; on the contrary, esthetic 
pleasure depends on judgment: the pleasure is the agreement of the faculties 
themselves, in as much as this agreement is achieved without concepts and so can 
only be felt. It can be said that the judgment of taste begins only with pleasure, 
but does not derive from it. 

We have to consider this first point carefully: the theme of an agreement 
among several faculties. The idea of such an agreement is a constant of the Kant- 
ian Critique. Our faculties differ in nature and yet function harmoniously. In the 
Critique of Pure Reason, understanding, imagination and reason enter into a har- 
monious relationship, in accordance with a speculative purpose. Similarly, in the 
Critique of Practical Reason, reason and understanding enter into a harmonious 
relationship (I will leave aside examining the possible role of imagination for a 
practical aim). Still, in these cases, one of the faculties always predominates. "Pre- 
dominant" in this context means three things: 1) determinate with respect to an 
aim; 2) determinative with respect to objects; 3) determinative with respect to 
the other faculties. 40 So, in the Critique of Pure Reason, the understanding dis- 
poses completely determinate a priori concepts for a speculative purpose; it 
applies its concepts to objects (phenomena) which are necessarily subject to it; 
and it induces the other faculties (imagination and reason) to carry out this or 
that function, with the aim of understanding, and in relation to the objects of 
understanding. In the Critique of Practical Reason, the Ideas of reason, and par- 
ticularly the Idea of freedom, are determined by the moral law; with this law as 
intermediary, reason determines suprasensible objects which are necessarily sub- 
ject to it; and finally, reason induces the understanding to a particualr function, 
in accordance with a practical purpose. In the first two Critiques, therefore, we 
cannot escape the principle of an agreement of the faculties among themselves. 
But this agreement is always proportioned, constrained, and determinate: there is 
always a determinative faculty that legislates, either the understanding for a spec- 
ulative purpose, or reason for a practical purpose. 

Let's come back to the example of the Critique of Pure Reason. It is widely 
acknowledged that schematizing is an original and irreducible act of the imagi- 
nation: only the imagination can and knows how to schematize. Nevertheless, 
the imagination does not schematize of its own accord, simply because it is free 
to do so. It schematizes only to the extent that the understanding determines it, 
induces it to do so. It schematizes only for a speculative purpose, in accordance 
with the determinate concepts of the understanding, when the understanding 
itself plays the role of legislator. This is why it would be misguided to search the 
mystery of schematizing for the last word on the imagination in its essence or in 



its free spontaneity. Schematizing is indeed a secret, but not the deepest secret of 
the imagination. Left to its own devices, the imagination would do something 
else entirely than schematize. The same holds for reason: reasoning is an original 
act of reason, but reason reasons only for a speculative purpose, in so far as the 
understanding determines it to do so, that is, induces it to look for a middle term 
so it may attribute one of its concepts to the objects governed by the under- 
standing. On its own, reason would do anything but reason; this is what we see 
in the Critique of Practical Reason. 

For practical purpose, reason becomes the legislator. Reason, then, in turn 
determines the understanding in an original function for a new purpose. The 
understanding extracts, from the sensible natural law, a "type" for a suprasensi- 
ble nature: the understanding alone can perform this task, but it could not 
without being determined to do so by reason for a practical purpose. So it is that 
the faculties enter into harmonious relations or proportions according to the fac- 
ulty that legislates for this or that purpose. Diverse proportions, or permutations in 
the relations of faculties, are therefore conceivable. The understanding legislates for 
a speculative purpose; reason, for a practical purpose. In each case, an agreement 
obtains among the faculties, but this agreement is determined by the faculty that 
happens to be the legislator. Such a theory of permutations, however, should lead 
Kant to an ultimate problem. The faculties would never enter into an agreement 
that is fixed or determined by one of themselves if, to begin with, they were not 
in themselves and spontaneously capable of an indeterminate agreement, a free 
harmony, without any fixed proportion. 2 It is useless to appeal to the superiority 
of the practical over the speculative in this instance; the problem would not be 
resolved by that, it would only be put off and exacerbated. How could any fac- 
ulty, which is legislative for a particular purpose, induce the other faculties to 
perform complementary, indispensable tasks, if all the faculties together were 
not, to begin with, capable of a free spontaneous agreement, without legislation, 
without purpose, without predominance? 

This is tantamount to saying that the Critique of Judgment, in its esthetic part, 
does not simply exist to complete the other two Critiques: in fact, it provides 
them with a ground. The Critique of Judgment uncovers the ground presupposed 
by the other two Critiques: a free agreement of the faculties. Every determinate 
agreement can be traced back to the free indeterminate agreement which makes 
the others possible in general. But why precisely is it the esthetic judgment that 
reveals this ground, which was hidden in the previous Critiques? In the esthetic 
judgment, the imagination is liberated from both the domination of understand- 
ing and reason. Esthetic pleasure is itself disinterested pleasure: it is not only 
independent of any empirical purpose, but also any speculative or practical pur- 
pose. It follows that esthetic judgment does not legislate; it does not imply any 
faculty that legislates objects. Indeed how could it be otherwise, since there are 



only two sorts of objects, phenomena and things-in-themselves: the first are gov- 
erned by the legislation of the understanding for a speculative purpose; and the 
second, by the legislation of reason for a practical purpose? Thus Kant has every 
right to say that the Critique of Judgment, contrary to the other two, has no 
"domain" proper to it; the judgment is not legislative or autonomous, but only 
heautomous (it legislates only itself).' The first two Critiques developed this com- 
mon theme: the idea of a necessary submission to certain types of objects in 
relation to a dominant or determinative faculty. But there are no objects that are 
necessarily subject to esthetic judgment, nor to any faculty in the esthetic judg- 
ment. Beautiful things in Nature agree only in a contingent manner with our 
judgment, that is, with the faculties that function together in the esthetic judg- 
ment as such. Now we see what a mistake it would be to think of the Critique of 
Judgment as completing the other two Critiques. In esthetic judgment, the imag- 
ination cannot attain a role comparable to that played by the understanding in 
speculative judgment, or that played by reason in practical judgment. The imag- 
ination is liberated from the supervision of the understanding and reason. But it 
does not become a legislator in turn: on a deeper level, the signal it gives the other 
faculties is that each must become capable of free play on its own. In two respects, 
then, the Critique of Judgment releases us in a new element, which is something 
like a fundamental element: 1) a contigent agreement of sensible objects with all 
our faculties together, instead of a necessary submission to one of the faculties; 2) 
a free indeterminate harmony of the faculties among themselves, instead of a 
determinate harmony presided over by one of the faculties. 

Kant also says that imagination, in esthetic judgment, "schematizes without 
concepts." 4 This is a brilliant formulation, though not quite exact. Schematizing 
is indeed an original act of the imagination, but always in respect to a determi- 
nate concept of the imagination. Without a concept from the understanding, the 
imagination does something else than schematize: it reflects. This is the true role 
of the imagination in esthetic judgment. It reflects the form of the object. By 
form, here, we should not understand form of intuition (sensibility), because 
forms of intuition still refer to existing objects that in themselves constitute sen- 
sible matter; they belong to the knowledge of objects. Esthetic form, however, 
merges with the reflection of the object in the imagination. It is indifferent to the 
existence of the reflected object; this is why esthetic pleasure is disinterested. Nor 
is it less indifferent to the sensible matter of the object; and Kant goes so far as 
to say that a color or a sound cannot be beautiful in itself, since they are too 
material, too deeply rooted in our senses to be freely reflected in the imagination. 
Only the design, the composition matter. These are the consitutive elements of 
esthetic form, while colors and sounds are only adjuncts. 5 In every respect, then, 
we must distinguish the intuitive form of sensibility from the reflected form of 
the imagination. 



Every agreement of the faculties defines what Kant calls common sense. Kant 
criticizes empiricism for conceiving common sense as merely a particular empir- 
ical faculty, whereas it is the manifestation of an apiori agreement of the faculties 
together. 6 Thus the Critique of Pure Reason invokes a logical common sense, "sen- 
sus communis logicus," without which knowledge would by rights be 
incommunicable. Similarly, the Critique of Practical Reason frequently invokes a 
properly moral common sense, which expresses the agreement of the faculties 
under the legislation of reason. But free harmony should lead Kant to recognize 
a third common sense, "sensus communis aestheticus, " which posits by rights the 
communicability of feeling or the universality of esthetic pleasure. 7 "This com- 
mon sense cannot be grounded in experience, since it claims to authorize 
judgments that contain an obligation; it does not say that everyone will accept 
our judgment, but that everyone must accept it." s We don't hold it against some- 
one for saying: I don't like lemonade, I don't like cheese. But we harshly judge 
someone who says: I don't like Bach, I prefer Massenet to Mozart. Thus esthetic 
judgment lays claim to a universality and a necessity by rights, and these are rep- 
resented in common sense. This is where the real difficulty of the Critique of 
Judgment begins: what is the nature of this esthetic common sense? 

This common sense cannot be affirmed by the categories. Such an affirma- 
tion would imply determinate concepts of the understanding, and they can enter 
the picture only in a logical sense. Nor do we fare any better if we postulate it: 
postulates imply knowledge that admits of being determined practically. It there- 
fore seems that a purely esthetic common sense can only be presumed, 
presupposed? But we see how unsatisfactory such a solution is. The free indeter- 
minate agreement of the faculties is the ground, the condition of every other 
agreement; esthetic common sense is the ground, the condition of every other 
common sense. How could we be satisfied with supposing it, with giving it a 
merely hypothetical existence, if it must indeed serve as the foundation for all the 
other determinate relations among the faculties? How does one explain that 
while our faculties are different in nature, they still spontaneously enter into a 
harmonious relation? We cannot settle for presuming such an agreement. We 
must engender it in the soul. This is the only solution: to trace the genesis of the 
esthetic common sense, to show how the free agreement of the faculties is nec- 
essarily engendered. 

If this interpretation is on target, the entire analytic of the beautiful has a 
precise objective: by analyzing the esthetic judgment of the spectator, Kant 
uncovers the free agreement of the imagination and the understanding as a 
ground of the soul, a ground which the other two Critiques presuppose. This 
ground of the soul shows up in the idea of a common sense that is more pro- 
found than any other. But is it enough to presume this ground, simply to 
"presuppose" it? The Analytic of the Beautiful can go no further. It can only end 



by making us feel how necessary is a genesis of the sense of the beautiful: is there 
a principle to give us a rule to produce in ourselves esthetic common sense? "Is 
taste a natural and primordial faculty, or only the idea of a faculty we must 
acquire?" 10 A genesis of the sense of the beautiful cannot belong to the exposition 
of the Analytic ("it is enough for now to resolve the faculty of taste in its parts 
and to reunite them in the idea of common sense"). The genesis can only be the 
object of a deduction: the deduction of esthetic judgments. In the Critique of Pure 
Reason, the deduction proposes to show us how objects are necessarily subject to 
a speculative purpose, and subject to the understanding which presides over this 
endeavor. In the judgment of taste, however, this necessary subjection is no 
longer the problem. Instead, the problem is now one of deducing the genesis of 
the agreement among faculties: this problem could not make its appearance as 
long as one of the faculties was considered legislative with respect to the others, 
binding them in a determinate relation. 

Post-Kantians, especially Maimon and Fichte, raised this fundamental objec- 
tion: Kant neglected the demands of a genetic method. This objection has a 
subjective and an objective aspect: on the one hand, Kant relies on facts and is 
seeking only their conditions; on the other hand, Kant appeals to faculties that are 
ready-made, whose relation or proportion he seeks to determine, already suppos- 
ing such faculties are capable of some harmony. If we recall that Mai'mon's 
Transcendental Philosophy dates from 1790, we must admit that Kant anticipated, 
at least in part, the objections of his disciples. The first two Critiques indeed 
invoke facts, seek out the conditions for these facts, and find them in ready-made 
faculties. It follows that the first two Critiques point to a genesis which they are 
incapable of securing on their own. But in the esthetic Critique of Judgment, Kant 
poses the problem of a genesis of the faculties in their original free agreement. 
Thus he uncovers the ultimate ground still lacking in the other two Critiques. 
Kant's Critique in general ceases to be a simple conditioning to become a tran- 
scendental Education, a transcendental Culture, a transcendental Genesis. 

The Analytic of the Beautiful left us with this question: whence originates the 
free indeterminate agreement among the faculties? What is the genesis of the fac- 
ulties in this agreement? Precisely, the Analytic of the Beautiful stops because it 
does not have the means to answer the question; one notices, moreover, that the 
judgment — "this is beautiful" — brings into play only the understanding and the 
imagination (there is no place for reason). Following the Analytic of the Beauti- 
ful, the Analytic of the Sublime calls on reason. But what does Kant expect from 
this? How will this solve the genetic problem related to the beautiful? 

The judgment — "this is sublime" — no longer expresses an agreement 
between the imagination and the understanding, but between the imagination 
and reason. But this harmony of the sublime is truly paradoxical. Reason and 



imagination agree or harmonize only from within a tension, a contradiction, a 
painful rending. There is agreement, but it is a discordant concord, a harmony 
in pain. And it is only pain that makes pleasure possible here. Kant emphasizes 
this point: the imagination undergoes violence; it seems even to lose its freedom. 
When the feeling of the sublime is experienced before the formless or the 
deformed in Nature (immensity or power), the imagination can no longer reflect 
the form of an object. Far from discovering another activity, however, the imag- 
ination realizes its very Passion. The imagination has two essential dimensions: 
successive apprehension, and simultaneous comprehension. If apprehension can 
reach infinity without trouble, comprehesion (an esthetic comprehension inde- 
pendent of any numerical concept) always has a maximum. So it is that the 
sublime confronts the imagination with this maximum, forces it to reach its 
limit, and come to grips with its boundaries. The imagination is pushed to the 
limits of its power. " But what pushes and constrains the imagination in this way? 
It is only in appearance, or by projection, that the sublime relates to sensible 
nature. In reality, reason alone obliges us to unite the infinity of the sensible 
world in a whole; reason alone forces the imagination to confront its limit. The 
imagination thus discovers the disproportion of reason, and it is forced to admit 
that its power is nothing compared to a rational Idea. 1 - 

And yet an agreement is born at the heart of this discord. Never was Kant 
closer to a dialectical conception of the faculties. Reason confronts the imagina- 
tion with its own limits in the sensible world; conversely however, the 
imagination awakens reason as the faculty able to conceive a supersensible sub- 
stratum for the infinity of this sensible world. As it undergoes violence, the 
imagination seems to lose its freedom; but at the same time, the imagination is 
raised to a transcendental function, taking its own limit as object. Surpassed on 
every side, the imagination itself surpasses its limits — true, in a negative fashion 
only, by representing to itself the inaccessibility of the rational Idea, and by mak- 
ing this inaccessibility something present in sensible nature. "The imagination, 
with no place to take hold beyond the sensible, feels nonetheless unlimited 
thanks to the disappearance of its limits; and this abstraction is a presentation of 
the infinite which, for that very reason, can only be negative, but which still 
expands the soul." 13 Right when the imagination, suffering the violence of rea- 
son, thought it was losing its freedom, it frees itself from the constraints of the 
understanding and enters into an agreement with reason to discover what the 
understanding had kept hidden, namely the suprasensible destination of imagi- 
nation, which is also like a transcendental origin. In its very Passion, the 
imagination discovers the origin and the destination of all its activities. This is 
the lesson of the Analytic of the Sublime: even the imagination has a suprasensi- 
ble destination. 14 The agreement of the imagination and reason is engendered in 
discord. Pleasure is engendered in pain. What is more, the two faculties seem to 



enrich each other, discovering the principle of their genesis; the imagination dis- 
covers it in proximity to its limit; and reason, beyond the sensible — and together 
they discover it in a "point of concentration" that defines what is most profound 
in the soul: the suprasensible unity of all the faculties. 

The Analytic of the Sublime gives us a result that the Analytic of the Beau- 
tiful could not even conceive: in the case of the sublime, the agreement of the 
concerned faculties is the object of a genuine genesis. This explains why Kant 
recognizes that the sense of the sublime, contrary to the sense of the beautiful, is 
inseparable from a cultured viewpoint: "in the trials of the forces of nature, in its 
devestation...the vulgar man sees only pain, danger, and misery." 15 The vulgar 
man remains in "discord." Not that the sublime involves some empirical and 
conventional culture; but the faculties which the sublime puts in play point to a 
genesis of their agreement within immediate discord. This is a transcendental 
genesis, and not an empirical culture. From this point on, the Analytic of the 
Sublime has a twofold significance. It stands on its own from the point of view 
of reason and imagination. But also it has value as a model: how can this dis- 
covery related to the sublime be extended or adapted to the sense of the 
beautiful? In other words, must not the agreement between the imagination and 
the understanding, which defines the beautiful, also be the object of a genesis, 
whose example was given by the Anaytic of the Sublime? 

The problem of a transcendental deduction is always objective. For example, 
in the Critique of Pure Reason, once Kant has shown that the categories are a pri- 
ori representations of the understanding, he asks how and why objects are 
necessarily subject to the categories, that is, subject to the understanding as leg- 
islator, or a speculative purpose. But when we examine the judgment of the 
sublime, we see no objective problem of deduction has been posed in this case. 
The sublime indeed relates to objects, but only by projecting our moods; and this 
projection is immediately possible, because whatever is formless or deformed in 
the object receives the projection. 16 However, at first blush, the same seems to be 
true of the judgment of taste or beauty: our pleasure is disinterested, we disre- 
gard the existence or even the matter of the object. There is no legislative faculty; 
there is no object necessarily subject to the judgment of taste. This is why Kant 
suggests that the problem of the judgment of taste is only subjective. 17 

And yet the major difference between the sublime and the beautiful is that the 
pleasure of the beautiful results from the form of an object: Kant says this char- 
acteristic is enough to ground the necessity of a "deduction" of the judgment of 
taste. 18 However indifferent we are to the existence of the object, there is nonethe- 
less an object concerning which, in the occurence of which we experience the free 
harmony of our understanding and our imagination. In other words, nature has 
an aptitude for producing objects that are reflected formally in the imagination: 



contrary to what occurs in the sublime, nature manifests in this case a positive 
property "which provides us with the occasion to grasp the internal finality of the 
relation of our mental faculties by means of the judgment brought to bear on cer- 
tain examples of its productions." 19 So it is that the internal agreement of our 
faculties among themselves implies an external agreement between nature and 
these same faculties. This second agreement is quite special. It must not be con- 
fused with a necessary subjection of the objects of nature; but it must not be taken 
as a final or teleological agreement either. If there were a necessary subjection, then 
the judgment of taste would be autonomous and legislative; if there were a real 
objective finality, then the judgment of taste would no loger be heautonomous 
("we would have to learn from nature what we should find beautiful, in which 
case judgment would be subject to empirical principles"). 2 " The agreement thus 
has no goal: nature is only obeying its mechanical laws, while our faculties are 
obeying their own specific laws. "An agreement that presents itself without a goal, of 
itself accidentally appropriated, as the judgment requires, with respect to nature and 
its forms." 2 ' As Kant says, nature isn't doing us any favors; rather, we are organized 
in such a way that we can favorably receive nature. 

Let's back up. The sense of the beautiful, as common sense, is defined by the 
supposed universality of esthetic pleasure. Esthetic pleasure itself results from the 
free agreement of the imagination and the understanding, and this free agreement 
can only be felt. But it is not sufficient to suppose in turn the universality and the 
necessity of the agreement, which must be engendered a priori in such a way that 
its claim is grounded. Here begins the real problem of the deduction: we must 
explain "why feeling in the judgment of taste is attributed to everyone, much like 
a duty." 22 But the judgment of taste, so it seemed, was connected to an objective 
determination. What we want to know is whether we cannot discover, on the side 
of the determination, a principle for the genesis of the agreement of the faculties in 
the judgment itself. Such a vantage point would have the advantage of explaining 
Kant's order of ideas: 1) the Analytic of the Beautiful uncovers a free agreement 
of the understanding and the imagination, but can posit it only as presupposed; 
2) the Analytic of the Sublime uncovers a free agreement of the imagination and 
reason, but under internal conditions that also sketch their genesis; 3) the deduc- 
tion of the judgment of taste uncovers an external principle according to which 
the understanding-imagination agreement is in turn engendered a priori; it thus 
uses the model furnished by the sublime, but with original means, since the sub- 
lime for its part does not require a deduction. 

How does this genesis of the sense of the beautiful shape up? The idea of the 
agreement without goal between nature and our faculties defines a purpose for 
reason, a rational purpose connected with the beautiful. Clearly, this purpose is 
not a purpose for the beautiful as such, and clearly, it is very different from 
esthetic judgment. Otherwise, the entire Critique of Judgment would be contra- 



dictory. In fact, the pleasure of the beautiful is totally disinterested, and esthetic 
judgment expresses the agreement of the imagination and the understanding 
without the intervention of reason. The purpose in question is synthetically con- 
nected to judgment. It has no bearing on the beautiful as such, but on the 
aptitude of nature to produce beautiful things. It has to do with nature, in so far 
as nature presents an agreement with our faculties, but an agreement without a 
goal. Precisely, however, since this agreement is external to the agreement of the 
faculties among themselves, and since it defines only the occasion when our fac- 
ulties do agree, the purpose connected with the beautiful is not part of esthetic 
judgment. From that point on, this agreement without goal can serve, without 
risking contradiction, as a genetic principle for the a priori agreement of the fac- 
ulties in this judgment. In other words, esthetic pleasure is disinterested, but we feel 
a rational purpose when the productions of nature agree with our disinterested plea- 
sure. "Because it is in the interest of reason that Ideas have an objective reality..., 
that is to say, that nature at least indicates by a trace or a sign that it contains a 
principle allowing a legitimate agreement between its productions and our satis- 
faction, independent of any purpose..., reason is necessarily interested in any 
natural manifestation of such an agreement." 23 It will come as no surprise, then, 
that the purpose connected with the beautiful has to do with determinations for 
which the sense of the beautiful remains indifferent. In the sense of the disinter- 
ested beautiful, the imagination reflects the form. Whatever has trouble being 
reflected — colors, sounds, matter — escapes it. On the other hand, the purpose 
connected with the beautiful has to do with sounds and colors, the color of flow- 
ers or the sounds of birds. 24 Again, there is no contradiction here. Purpose has to 
do with matter, because it is with matter that nature, in conformity with its 
mechanical laws, produces objects that happen to be apt for formal reflection. 
Kant even defines primal matter as it participates in the production of the beau- 
tiful: a fluid matter, part of which is separated out or evaporates, and the rest of 
which suddenly solidifies (crystal formation). 25 

This purpose connected with the beautiful, or the judgment of beauty, is 
described as meta-esthetic. How does this purpose of reason ensure the genesis 
of the understanding-imagination agreement in the judgment of beauty itself? 
Reason discovers the many presentations of its Ideas in sound, color, and free 
matter. For example, we are not satisfied with subsuming color under a concept 
of the understanding; we relate it still to a whole other concept (an Idea of rea- 
son) which, for its part, has no object of intuition, but does determine its object 
by analogy with the object of intuition that corresponds to the first concept. In 
this way, we transpose "the reflection on an object of intuition to a whole other 
concept to which, perhaps, an intuition may never directly correspond." 26 The 
white lilly is no longer simply related to concepts of color and flower, but awak- 
ens the Idea of pure innocence, whose object, which is never given, is a reflexive 



analogue of white in the fleur-de-lis. 27 In this case, however, the meta-esthetic 
purpose of reason has two consequences: on the one hand, the concepts of the 
understanding are infinitely extended, in an unlimited way; on the other hand, 
the imagination is freed from the constraint of the determined concepts of the 
understanding, to which it was still subject in schematization. What the Analyt- 
ic of the Beautiful in its exposition allowed us to say is only this: in the esthetic 
judgment, the imagination becomes free at the same time that the understand- 
ing becomes indeterminate. But how does the imagination become free? How 
does the understanding become indeterminate? Reason tell us, and thus secures 
the genesis of the free indeterminate agreement of the two faculties in judgment. 
The seduction of esthetic judgment explains what the Analytic of the Beautiful 
could not: it discovers in reason the principle of a transcendental genesis. But first 
it was necessary to go through the genetic model of the Sublime. 

The theme of a presentation of Ideas in sensible nature is a fundamental 
theme in Kant's work. This is because there are several modes of presentation. 
The Sublime is the first mode: a direct presentation accomplished by projection, 
but it remains negative, having to do with the inaccessibility of the Idea. The sec- 
ond mode is defined by the rational purpose connected with the beautiful: this 
is an indirect but positive presentation, which is achieved through symbol. The 
third mode appears in Genius: a positive presentation, but it is secondary, 
accomplished through the creation of an "other" nature. Finally, the fourth mode 
is teleological: a positive presentation, primary as well as direct, which is achieved 
in the concepts of end and final agreement. This last mode does not concern us 
here. On the other hand, the mode of Genius does pose an essential problem in 
Kant's esthetics from the perspective developed in these pages. 

The key to a genesis of an a priori agreement of faculties in the judgment of 
taste is rational purpose — but on what condition? On condition that we join to 
the particular experience of the beautiful, "the thought that nature produced this 
beauty." 28 In one respect, then, a disjunction appears: between the beautiful in 
nature and the beautiful in art. Nothing in the exposition of the Analytic of the 
Beautiful authorized such a distinction: the deduction introduces this distinction, 
i.e. the meta-esthetic vantage point of the purpose connected with the beautiful. 
This purpose concerns exclusively natural beauty; the genesis thus concerns the 
agreement between the imagination and the understanding, but only in as much 
as the agreement is produced in the soul of the spectator before nature. The 
agreement of the faculties before a work of art remains groundless, without a 

The final task of Kantian esthetics is to discover for art a principle analogous 
to the principle of the beautiful in nature. This principle is Genius. Just as ratio- 
nal purpose is the authority by which nature provides judgment with a rule, so 



genius is the subjective disposition by which nature provides art with rules (in 
this sense, it is a "gift of nature" ). 29 Just as rational purpose concerns the mate- 
rials with which nature produces beautiful things, so Genius provides the 
materials with which the subject it inspires produces beautiful works of art: 
"genius essentially provides the fine arts with rich materials." 30 Genius is a meta- 
esthetic principle the same as rational purpose. That is, genius is defined as a 
presentation of Ideas. Of course, in this case, Kant is talking about esthetic Ideas, 
which he distinguishes from the Ideas of reason: Ideas of reason are concepts 
without intuitions, whereas esthetic Ideas are intuitions without concepts. But 
this is a false opposition; there are not two sorts of Ideas. The esthetic Idea goes 
beyond every concept because it produces the intuition of an other nature than 
the nature given to us: it creates a nature in which the phenomena are events of 
the spirit, in an unmediated way, and the events of the spirit are phenomena of 
nature. Thus invisible beings, the kingdom of the blessed, hell acquire a body; 
and love, death, acquire a dimension to make them adequate to their spiritual 
sense." Now it occurs to one that the intuition of genius is the intuition which 
the Ideas of reason were lacking. The intuition without concept is precisely that 
which the concept wihout intuition was lacking. So, in the first formulation, it is 
the concepts of the understanding that are surpassed and disqualified; and in the 
second, the intuitions of sensibility. In genius, however, the creative intuition as 
intuition of an other nature, and the concepts of reason as rational Ideas, are ade- 
quately unified. 32 The rational Idea contains something inexpressible; but the 
esthetic Idea expresses the inexpressible, through the creation of an other nature. 
Therefore, the esthetic Idea is truly a mode of the presentation of Ideas, much 
like symbolism, though operating differently. And the esthetic Idea has an anal- 
ogous effect: it "makes us think," it extends the concepts of the understanding in 
an unlimited way, and it frees the imagination from the constraints of the under- 
standing. Genius "vitalizes." It "gives life." As a meta-esthetic principle, it makes 
possible, it engenders the esthetic agreement between the imagination and the 
understanding. It engenders each faculty in this agreement: the imagination as 
free, and the understanding as unlimited. The theory of Genius thus manages to 
bridge the gap that had opened up between the beautiful in nature and the beau- 
tiful in art, from a meta-esthetic point of view. Genius provides a genetic 
principle to the faculties in relation to a work of art. So, after paragraph 42 in 
the Critique of Judgment has separated out two kinds of the beautiful, paragraphs 
58 and 59 restore their unity, through the idea of a genesis of the faculties which 
the two kinds have in common. 

Nevertheless, the parallel between the purpose connected with the beautiful 
in nature, and genius as it relates to the beautiful, should not be pushed too far. 
Because genius entails a far more complex genesis. In the case of genius, we need- 
ed to engender the agreement of the imagination and the understanding, so we 



had to leave behind the spectator's point of view. Genius is the gift of the artis- 
tic creator. The imagination is liberated, and the understanding extended, first in 
the artist. We are faced with this difficulty: how can such a genesis have a uni- 
versal implication if it is governed by the singularity of genius? It seems that we 
discover in genius not a universal subjectivity, but at most an exceptional inter- 
subjectivity. Genius is always a calling out for other geniuses to be born. But vast 
deserts open up during which the call of genius goes unanswered. "Genius is the 
exemplary originality of a subject's natural gifts in the free use of the cognitive 
faculties. Thus the work of genius is an example, not to be imitated, but to bring 
about the birth of another genius in its wake, by awakening the sense of its own 
originality, and by spurring an exercise of its art independent of any and all 
rules... The genius is the darling of nature; its existence is rare." 33 However, this 
difficulty can be resolved if we consider the two activities of the genius. On the 
one hand, genius creates. That is to say, genius produces the matter of its art; by 
inventing an other nature adequate to Ideas, genius realizes the free creative func- 
tion of the imagination. On the other hand, the artist gives form: by adjusting an 
imagination liberated from the indeterminate understanding, the artist gives to 
the work of art the form of an object of taste ("taste is sufficient to give this form 
to the work of art"). 34 Precisely, what is inimitable in genius is the first aspect: the 
enormity of the Idea, the astonishing matter, the difformity of genius. But in its 
second aspect, the work of genius provides an example for everyone: it inspires 
imitators, gives rise to spectators, and engenders everywhere the free agreement of 
the imagination and the understanding, which agreement constitutes taste. So, 
we are not simply in the desert while the call of genius goes unanswered by 
another genius: men and women of taste, students, and aficionados fill up the 
space between two geniuses, and help pass the time. 3 " Consequently, the genesis 
that originates in genius effectively acquires a universal value (the genius of the 
creator engenders the agreement of the faculties in the spectator): "Taste, like 
judgment in general, is the discipline of genius. ..Taste brings clarity and order 
to the mass of thoughts and gives Ideas their consistancy, and therefore opens 
them up to a lasting and universal success, as examples for others, adapting them- 
selves to a culture always in process." 36 

We thus have three parallel geneses in Kant's esthetics: the sublime, or a gen- 
esis of the reason-imagination agreement; purpose connected with the beautiful, 
or a genesis of the understanding-imagination agreement according to the beau- 
tiful in nature; and genius, or a genesis of the understanding-imagination 
agreement according to the beautiful in art. What is more is that, for each case, 
the faculties are engendered in their original free state and in reciprocal agree- 
ment. Thus the Critique of Judgment reveals a whole other domain from that of 
the other two Critiques. The previous two Critiques begin with ready-made fac- 




ulties, and these enter determinate relations and take on organized tasks under 
the direction of one legislative faculty. The understanding legislates for a rational 
speculative purpose, and reason legislates for its own practical purpose. When 
Kant tries to articulate the originality of the Critique of Judgment, this is what he 
says: it ensures both the passage from a speculative to a practical purpose and the 
subordination of the first to the second. 37 For example, the sublime already shows 
how the suprasensible destination of our faculties can be explained only as the 
destiny of a moral being; the purpose connected with the beautiful in nature evi- 
dences a soul predestined to morality; and genius itself allows the artistic 
beautiful and the world of morality to be integrated, and thus to overcome the 
disjunction of the two kinds of the beautiful (the beautiful in art, no less than 
the beautiful in nature, is in the end declared a "symbol of morality"). 38 

But if the Critique of Judgment opens up a passage, it is first and foremost 
because it unveils a. ground that had remained hidden in the other two Critiques. 
Were this idea of a passage to be taken literally, the Critique of Judgment would 
be no more than a compliment, an adjustment: in fact, it constitutes the origi- 
nal ground from which derive the other two Critiques. Certainly, the Critique of 
Judgment does show how speculative purpose can be subordinated to practical 
purpose, how Nature can be in agreement with liberty, and how our destination 
is a moral destiny. But it does so only by attributing judgment, in the subject and 
beyond the subject, "to something which is neither nature nor liberty. " y> And the 
purpose connected with the beautiful is in itself neither moral nor speculative. 
And if we have the destiny of a moral being, it is because this destiny develops, 
explains a supra-sensible destination of our faculties; this destination remains 
none the less enveloped as the real heart of our being, as a principle more pro- 
found than any formal destiny. This is indeed the sense of the Critique of 
Judgment, beneath the determinate and conditioned relations of the faculties, it 
discovers free agreement, indeterminate and unconditional. No determinate rela- 
tion of the faculties, a relation conditioned by one of them, would ever be 
possible if it were not first made possible by this free unconditioned agreement. 
Furthermore, the Critique of Judgment does not restrict itself to the perspective 
of conditions as it appeared in the other two Critiques: with the Critique of Judg- 
ment, we step into Genesis. The three geneses of the Critique of Judgment are not 
only parallel, they converge on the same discovery: what Kant calls the Soul, that 
is, the suprasensible unity of our faculties, "the point of concentration," the life- 
giving principle that "animates" each faculty, engendering both its free exercise 
and its free agreement with the other faculties. 40 A primeval free imagination that 
cannot be satisfied with schematizing under the constraints of the understand- 
ing; a primeval unlimited understanding that does not yet bend under the 
speculative weight of its determinate concepts, no more so than it is not already 
subjected to the ends of practical reason; a primeval reason that has not yet devel- 



oped a taste for commanding, but which frees itself when it frees up the other 
faculties — these are the extreme discoveries of the Critique of Judgment, each fac- 
ulty rediscovers the principle of its genesis as each converges on this focal point, 
"a point of concentration in the supra-sensible," whence our faculties derive both 
their force and their life. 

Our problem was twofold. How does one explain that the analysis of the 
sublime interrupts the link between the exposition and the deduction of the 
judgment of beauty, when the sublime has no corresponding deduction? And 
how does one explain that the deduction of the judgment of beauty is extended 
to theories of purpose, art, and genius, which seem to address very different pre- 
occupations? I believe the system of the Critique of Judgment, in its first part, can 
be reconstituted in the following manner: 

l)The Analytic of the Beautiful, exposition: this is the formal esthetics of the 
beautiful in general from the spectators point of view. The different moments of 
this Analytic show that the understanding and the imagination enter a free agree- 
ment, and that this free agreement is constitutive of the judgment of taste. This 
defines a spectator's esthetic point of view of the beautiful in general. Such a 
point of view is formal, since the spectator reflects the form of the object. But the 
last moment of the Analytic, i.e. modality, poses an essential problem. Free inde- 
terminate agreement must be apriori. Moreover, it is what is most profound in 
the soul; every determinate proportion of the faculties presupposes the possibil- 
ity of their free and spontaneous harmony. In this sense, the Critique of Judgment 
must be the genuine ground of the other two Critiques. Clearly, then, we cannot 
be satisfied with presuming the apriori agreement of the understanding and the 
imagination in the judgment of taste. This agreement must be the object of a 
transcendental genesis. But the Analytic of the Beautiful is unable to secure such 
a genesis: it points to the necessity, but it cannot on its own go beyond mere "pre- 

2) The Analytic of the Sublime, exposition and deduction: this is the form- 
less esthetics of the sublime from the spectators point of view. Taste did not call 
reason into play. The sublime, however, is explained by the free agreement of 
reason and the imagination. But this new "spontaneous" agreement occurs 
under very special conditions: pain, opposition, constraint, and discord. In the 
case of the sublime, freedom or spontaneity is experienced in boundary-areas, 
when faced with the formless or the deformed. In this way, however, the Ana- 
lytic of the Sublime gives us a genetic principle for the agreement of the 
faculties, an agreement which the Analytic puts in play It follows that it goes 
much farther than the Analytic of the Beautiful. 

3) The Analytic of the Beautiful, deduction: this is the material meta- esthetic 
of the beautiful in nature, from the spectator's point of view. The judgment of taste 



demands a particular deduction because it relates in the very least to the form of 
the object: furthermore, the judgment of taste in turn requires a genetic princi- 
ple for the agreement of the faculties which it expresses, namely understanding 
and imagination. The Sublime furnishes us with a genetic model; the equivalent 
must be found for the beautiful, using other means. We are looking for a rule 
according to which we may by rights suppose the universality of esthetic plea- 
sure. As long as we are satisfied to presume the agreement between the 
understanding and the imagination, the deduction is simple. What is more dif- 
ficult is making the genesis of theis agreement a priori. However, precisely 
because reason does not intervene in the judgment of taste, it can furnish us with 
a principle according to which the agreement of the faculties in this judgment is 
engendered. There exists a rational purpose connected with the beautiful: this 
meta-esthetic purpose concerns the aptitude of nature for producing beautiful 
things, as well as the materials which nature uses for such "formations." Thanks 
to this purpose which is neither practical nor speculative, reason gives birth to 
itself, expands the understanding, and liberates the imagination. Reason secures 
the genesis of a free indeterminate agreement between the imagination and the 
understanding. The two aspects of the deduction are now joined: the objective 
reference to a nature capable of producing beautiful things, and the subjective 
reference to a principle capable of engendering the agreement of faculties. 

4) Follow-up to the deduction in the theory of Genius: this is an ideal meta- 
esthetic of the beautiful in art from the point of view of the creative artist. The 
purpose connected with the beautiful secures a genesis only by excluding the case 
of the artistic beautiful. Genius thus intervenes as the meta-esthetic principle 
proper to the faculties being exercised in art. Genius has properties analogous to 
those of purpose: it furnishes a matter, it incarnates Ideas, it causes reason to give 
birth to itself, and it liberates the imagination and expands the understanding. 
But genius exercises all these faculties first and foremost from the vantage point 
of the creation of a work of art. Finally, without losing any of its singular and 
exceptional character, genius must give a universal value to the agreement which 
it engenders, and it must communicate to the faculties of the spectator some- 
thing of its own life and force; thus Kant's esthetics forms a systematic whole, in 
which the three geneses are unified. 


Raymond Roussel, or the 
Abhorrent Vacuum 

The work of Raymond Roussel, which Pauverr has published in new editions, 
includes two sorts of books: poem-books that describe miniature objects in detail 
(for example, a complete spectacle on the label of an Evian water bottle) or objects 
that have doubles (actors, machines and Carnival masks); and those books known 
as "formula" books: starting explicitly or implicitly from a catalytic phrase (e.g. "the 
white letters on the legs of the old pool table"), the reader ends up rediscovering the 
same phrase, or almost ("the white fetters on the eggs of the old fool Able"); in the 
gap between them, however, a whole world of descriptions and catalogues have 
arisen, where the same words taken to mean different things lead two very different 
lives, or else they are dislocated to make way for other words ("I have some good 
tobacco" = "wave slum jude wacko"). 

This author who had a considerable influence on the Surrealists, and today on 
Robbe-Grillet, remains relatively unknown. But recently Michel Foucault has pub- 
lished a commentary of great poetic and philosophical power on the work of 
Roussel, and finds the keys to this work in an entirely different direction from what 
the Surrealists had indicated. It seems vital, moreover, to connect the reading of Fou- 
cault's book with that of Roussel himself. How does one explain the "formula"? 
According to Michel Foucault, there exists in language a kind of essential distance, 
a kind of displacement, dislocation, or breach. This is because words are less numer- 
ous than things, and so each word has several meanings. The literature of the absurd 
believed that meaning was deficient, but in fact there is a deficiency of signs. 

Hence in a word a vacuum opens up: the repetition of a word leaves the differ- 
ence of its meanings gaping. Is this the proof of an impossibility of repetition? No, 
this is where Roussel's enterprise comes into view: he tries to widen this gap to its 
maximum and thus determine and measure it, already filling it with a whole 
machinery, a whole phantasmagoria that binds the differences to, and integrates 
them with, repetition. 



For example, the words "demoiselle a pretendant / gallant young woman" 
induces "demoiselle (hie) a reitre en dents / a jackhammer with rough-neck teeth" 
and the problem, as an equation, becomes that of a jackhammer putting together a 
mosaic. The repetition must become paradoxical, poetic, and comprehensive. The 
repetition must encompass in itself difference instead of reducing it. The poverty of 
language must become its very source of wealth. Foucault writes: "Not the lateral 
repetition of things we repeat, but the radical repetition that has passed over and 
beyond non-language and that owes its poetry to the gap that has been crossed." 

By what will the vacuum be filled and crossed? By extraordinary machines, by 
strange artisan-actors. Things and beings now follow language. Everything in the 
mechanisms and behaviors is imitation, reproduction, recitation. But the recitation 
of something singular, an unbelievable event, which is absolutely different from the 
recitation. As if Roussel's machines had grafted on themselves the technique of the 
formula: like the "job of daybreak," which itself sends us back to a profession that 
forces us to wake up early. Or the verse-worm that plays the zither by projecting 
drops of water along each string. Roussel elaborates multiple series of repetitions 
with the power to liberate: prisoners save their own lives through repetition and 
recitation, in the invention of corresponding machines. 

These liberating repetitions are poetic precisely because they do not suppress 
difference; on the contrary, they experience difference and authenticate it by inter- 
nalizing the Singular. As for those non-formula works, they can be explained in a 
similar fashion. In this case, things themselves are opened up thanks to a minia- 
turization, thanks to a doubling, a mask. And the vacuum is now crossed by 
language, which gives birth to a whole world in the interstice of these masks and 
doublings. Consequently, the non-formula works are like the flip-side of the for- 
mula itself. In both cases, the problem is to tell and show at the same time, to 
speak and set before the eyes. 

This poorly states the wealth and depth of Foucault's book. This intertwining 
of difference and repetition is also about life, death, and madness. For it appears 
that the vacuum inside things and words are a sign of death, and what fills it is 
mad presence. 

However, it is not the case that the personal madness of Raymond Roussel and 
his work have an element in common, positively speaking. On the contrary, we 
would have to speak of an element according to which the work and his madness 
mutually exclude one another. That element is common in one sense only; it is lan- 
guage. His personal madness and the poetic work, the delirium and the poem, 
represent two investments of language, on different levels, that are mutually exclusive. 

From this point of view, Foucault in his last chapter sketches a whole interpre- 
tation of the work/madness relationship, which would apply and which he perhaps 
will apply to other poets (Artaud?). Michel Foucault's book is not only decisive with 
respect to Roussel; it also marks an important stage in its author's personal research 
on the relations of language, the gaze, death, and madness. 


How Jarry's Pataphysics Opened the 
Way for Phenomenology 

Major modern authors often surprise us with a thought that seems both a 
remark and a prophesy: metaphysics is and must be surpassed. In so far as its 
fate is conceived as metaphysics, philosophy makes room and must make room 
for other forms of thought, other forms of thinking. 

This modern idea is seized on in various contexts, which dramatize it: 1) 
God is dead (it would be interesting to do an anthology of all the versions of the 
dead God, all the dramatizations of this death. For example, Jarry's bicycle race. 1 
In Nietzsche alone, we could find a dozen versions, the first of which is not at 
all found in The Gay Science, but in The Wanderer and His Shadow, in the 
admirable text on the death of the prison-guard. 2 But whatever the case, the 
death of God for philosophy means the abolition of the cosmological distinc- 
tion between two worlds, the metaphysical distinction between essence and 
appearance, the logical distinction between the true and the false. The death of 
God thus demands a new form of thought, a transmutation of values.) 

2) The Human dies also (finished is the belief in the substitution of humanity 
for God, the belief in the Human-God who would replace God-the Human. For 
in changing places, nothing has changed, the old values remain in place. Nihilism 
must go all the way, to the end of itself, in the human being who wants to perish, 
the last human, the men and women of the atomic age foretold by Nietzsche.) 

3) This something "other" is conceived as a force already at work in human 
subjectivity, but hiding in it, and also destroying it. (cf. Rimbaud's "Something 
thinks me.") The action of this force follows two paths: the path of actual his- 
tory and the development of technology, and the path of poetry and the poetic 
creation of fantastic imaginary machines. This conception demands a new 
thinker (a new subject of thought, "death to the Cogito"), new concepts (a new 
object to be thought), and new forms of thought (which integrate the old poet- 
ic unconscious and today's powerful machines, e.g. Heraclitus and cybernetics). 



In a certain way, this attempt to surpass metaphysics is already well known. We 
find it in different degrees in Nietzsche, Marx, and Heidegger. The only gener- 
al name that befits it was coined by Jarry: pataphysics. Pataphysics must be 
defined: "An epiphenomenon is that which is added on to a phenomenon. Pat- 
aphysics ... is the science of that which is added on to metaphysics, either from 
within, or outside it, extending as far beyond metaphysics as metaphyics 
extends beyond physics. E.g. since the epiphenomenon is often equated with 
the accident, pataphysics will be above all the science of the particular, even 
though it is said that science deals only with the general." 3 In the jargon of spe- 
cialists: Being is the epiphenomenon of all beings [e'tants] and must be thought 
by the new thinker, who is an epiphenomenon of humankind. 

In that proportion of black humor and white seriousness, so difficult to 
keep separate, but demanded by the new thinking, Kostas Axelos has brought 
out a book: Vers la pensee planetaire (Les Editions de Minuit)/' Previously, he 
wrote Alienation, Praxis, and Techne in the Thought of Karl Marx and Heraclite 
et la philosophic It is fitting that the publishing house which welcomed the nou- 
veau roman [Les Editions de Minuit] should also attest a new philosophy. Kostas 
Axelos, director of the series Arguments,' has been trained both as a Marxist 
and a Heideggerian. What is more, he possesses the force and inspiration of a 
Greek, both clever and learned. He reproaches his mentors for not haiving suf- 
ficiently broken with metaphysics, for not having sufficiently conceived of the 
powers of a technology both real and imaginary, for having remained prisoners 
of the perspectives which they themselves denounce. In his notion of planetary, 
he discovers the motive and the condition, the object and the subject, the pos- 
itive and the negative of the new thinking. And following this path, he writes 
an astonishing book — in my opinion, the culmination of pataphysics. 

Axelos's method procedes by an enumeration of senses. This enumeration is 
not a juxtaposition, since each meaning participates in the others. Not accord- 
ing to Rules which would refer back to the old metaphysics, but according to a 
Game which includes within it all possible rules, which thus has no other inter- 
nal rule than to affirm all that 'can' be affirmed (including chance and 
nonsense), and to deny all that 'can' be denied (including God and man). Hence 
the fundamental list of the senses of the word planetary: global, itinerant, erran- 
cy, planning, platitude, gears and wheels. "The play of thought and the 
planetary era is thus global, erratic, itinerant, organizing, planning and flattening, 
caught up in gears and wheels" (p. 46). 

Giving an extreme mobility to each of its senses [in ref. to. Logic of Senses. 
SL], his planetarism is presented in the following way: find the fragment repre- 
sented by each object in such a way that thought makes up the always open sum 
(and subtraction) of all the other fragments subsisting as such. Axelos opens an 
irreducible dialogue between the fragment and the whole. No other totality 
than that of Dionysos, but Dionysos dismembered. In this new pluralism, the 



One can be said only of the multiple and must be said of the multiple; Being is 
said only of becoming and time; Necessity, only of chance; and the Whole, only 
of fragments. Axelos develops the power of what Jarry used to call Tepiphe- 
nomenon" — but Axelos launches an entirely different term, and a different idea: 
"being in the process of becoming the fragmentary and fragmented totality." 

Two fundamental notions will be remarked: Game, which must be substi- 
tuted for the metaphysical relation of the relative and the absolute; and Errancy, 
which must surpass the metaphysical opposition of true and false, error and 
truth. Axelos writes his most brilliant pages on errancy. Similarly, his commen- 
taries on Pascal, Rimbaud, and Freud are truly profound (the text on Rimbaud 
is extremely beautiful). Still this brilliant and strange book is only an introduc- 
tion. Axelos will have to invent his own new forms of expression, his own 
versions of the death of God, his own real fantastic machines. All the way to the 
great synthesis, which must unite the two sides of a true "pataphysics" — the 
ubuesque side, and the doctoral or Faustrollian side. As Axelos says, in one of 
his strangely polite phrases: "with and without joy and sadness...." But never 
with indifference. Planatarism or pataphysics. 


"He Was my Teacher" 

The sadness of generations without "teachers." Our teachers are not just public pro- 
fessors, though we badly need professors. Our teachers, once we reach adulthood, 
are those who bring us something radical and new, who know how to invent an 
artistic or literary technique, finding those ways of thinking that correspond to our 
modernity, that is, our difficulties as well as our vague enthusiasms. We know there 
is only one value for art, and even for truth: the "first-hand," the authentic newness 
of something said, and the "unheard music" with which it is said. That's what Sartre 
was for us (for us twenty-year-olds during the Liberation). In those days, who except 
Sartre knew how to say anything new? Who taught us new ways to think? As bril- 
liant and profound as the work of Merleau-Ponty was, it was professorial and 
depended in many respects on Sartre's work. (Sartre readily likened the existence of 
human beings to the non-being of a "hole" in the world: little lakes of nothingness, 
he called them. But Merleau-Ponty took them to be folds, simple folds and pleats. 
In this way, one can distinguish a tough, penetrating existentialism from a more ten- 
der and reserved existentialism.) As for Camus — alas! Either it was inflated heroism, 
or it was second-hand absurdity; Camus claimed descent from a line of cursed 
thinkers, but his whole philosophy just led us back to Lalande and Meyerson, writ- 
ers well-known to any undergraduate. The new themes, a particular new style, a new 
aggressive and polemical way of posing problems — these came from Sartre. In the 
disorder and the hope of the Liberation, we discovered, we re-discovered everything: 
Kafka, the American novel, Husserl and Heidegger, incessant renegotiations with 
Marxism, enthusiasm for a nouveau roman... It was all channeled through Sartre, not 
only because he was a philosopher and had a genius for totalization, but because 
he knew how to invent something new. The first performances of The Flies, the 
publication of Being and Nothingness; An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology, his 
conference Existentialism and Humanism — these were events: they were how we 
learned, after long nights, the identity of thought and liberty. 



"Private thinkers" are in a way opposed to "public professors." Even the 
Sorbonne needs an anti-Sorbonne, and the students don't really listen to their 
professors except when they have other teachers also. Nietzsche in his day had 
ceased to be a professor to become a private thinker: Sartre did the same, in 
another context, and with another outcome. Private thinkers have a double 
character: a kind of solitude that remains their own in every situation; but also 
a particular agitation, a particular disorder of the world in which they rise up 
and speak. Hence they speak only in their own name, without "representing" 
anything; and they solicit those raw presences, those naked powers in the world 
which are hardly more "representable." Already in What is Literature?, Sartre 
sketched the ideal writer: "The writer takes up the world as is, totally raw, stink- 
ing, and quotidian, and presents it to free people on a foundation of freedom... 
It is not enough to grant the writer the freedom to say whatever he pleases! He 
must address a public that has the freedom to change everything, which implies, 
beyond the suppression of social classes, the abolition of all dictatorship, the 
perpetual renewal of categories, and the continual reversal of every order, as 
soon as it starts to ossify. In a word, literature is essentially the subjectivity of a 
society in permanent revolution." 2 From the beginning, Sartre conceived the 
writer as a being like any other, addressing others from the sole point of view of 
their freedom. His whole philosophy was part of a speculative movement that 
contested the notion of representation, the order itself of representation: philos- 
ophy was changing its arena, leaving the sphere of judgment, to establish itself 
in the more vivid world of the "pre-judgmental," the "sub-representational." 
Sartre has just refused the Nobel prize: this is the practical continuation of the 
same attitude; it shows his revulsion at the idea of representing something in a 
practical manner, even spiritual values, or as Sartre himself says, his revulsion at 
the idea of being institutionalized. 

The private thinker requires a world that contains a certain minimum dis- 
order, even if only revolutionary hope, a seed of permanent revolution. In 
Sartre, we find almost a fixation with the Liberation, with the disappointments 
of the day. It took the Algerian War to recover something of the necessary polit- 
ical struggle or liberating agitation, and then, the conditions were all the more 
complex, since we were no longer the oppressed, but those who would turn on 
one another. Ah, youth. All that is left is Cuba and the Venezuelan maquis. But 
greater still than the solitude of the private thinker is the solitude of those look- 
ing for a teacher, who would like a teacher, and would not have come to him 
except in an agitated world. The moral order, the "representational" order has 
closed in on us. Even atomic fear has taken on the appearance of a bourgeois 
fear. Today, young people are schooled in thought with Teilhard de Chardin for 
a teacher. You get what you deserve. After Sartre, not only Simone Weil, but 
Simone Weil's monkey. Not that profoundly new things in contemporary liter- 
ature are lacking. Take a few random examples: the nouveau roman, 



Gombrowicz's books, Klossowski's stories, Levi-Strauss's sociology, Genet's the- 
atre, Gatti's theatre, the philosophy of "unreason" that Foucault is working on... 
But what is missing today, what Sartre knew how to bring together and incar- 
nate for the previous generation, were the conditions of totalization: a 
totalization in which politics, the imagination, sexuality, the unconscious, and 
the will are all united in the rights of human totality. We continue to live on like 
so many scattered limbs. Speaking of Kafka, Sartre said: his work is "a free and 
unitary reaction to the Judeo-Christian world of Central Europe; his novels are 
the synthetic overcoming of his situation as a man, a Jew, a Tehee, a recalcitrant 
fiance, aTB patient, etc.'" But what about Sartre himself: his work is a reaction 
to the bourgeois world as exposed by communism. His work expresses the over- 
coming of his own situation as a bourgeois intellectual, as a graduate of the 
Ecole Normale, as a free fiance, as an ugly man (Sartre often presented himself 
as such), etc.: all those things which are reflected and echoed in the movement 
of his books. 

We speak of Sartre as though he belonged to a bygone era. Alas, we are the 
ones who in today's conformist moral order are bygone. At least Sartre allows us 
to await some vague future moment, a return, when thought will form again and 
make its totalities anew, like a power that is at once collective and private. This is 
why Sartre remains my teacher. Sartre's last book, Critique of Dialectical Reason, 
Theory of Practical Ensembles, is one of the most beautiful books to have come out 
in recent years. It provides Being and Nothingness with its necessary complement, 
in the sense that collective demands now complete the subjectivity of the person. 
And when we think back on Being and Nothingness, we rediscover the initial 
astonishment we felt for Sartre's renewal of philosophy. We know better today that 
the relation of Sartre to Heidegger, his debt to Heidegger, was a false problem, 
based on a misunderstanding. It was the uniquely Sartrian that struck me in Being 
and Nothingness, it was the measure of his contribution: his theory of bad faith, 
where consciousness, from within itself, plays on its dual power not to be what it 
is and to be what it is not; his theory of the Other, where the gaze of the other is 
enough to make the world vacillate, "stealing" the world from me; his theory of 
liberty, where liberty limits itself by constituting situations; existential psychoanaly- 
sis, where one discovers the foundational choices of an individual at the heart of his 
concrete life. And every time, essence and example would enter complex relation- 
ships that gave a new style to philosophy. The cafe waiter, the girl in love, the ugly 
man, and above all my friend-Pierre-who-was-never-there: these comprised real 
novels in the philosophical work and set the essences going to the rhythm of exis- 
tential examples. A violent syntax of breaks and stretches were everywhere 
dazzling evidence, recalling the twin Sartrian obsessions: the lakes of non-being, 
and the viscosity of matter. 

His refusal of the Nobel prize is good news. Finally someone is not trying 
to explain what a delicious paradox it is for a writer, for a private thinker, to 



accept honors and public representations. The clever few are already trying to 
make Sartre contradict himself: they attribute to him feelings of vexation at 
having the prize come too late; they object that, in any case, he represents 
something; they remind him that, at any rate, his success was and remains 
bourgeois; they suggest that his refusal is neither reasonable nor grown-up; 
they point to the example of those who accepted-while-refusing, determined to 
put the money to good works. We shouldn't get too involved. Sartre is a for- 
midable polemicist... There is no genius without self-parody. But which is the 
better parody? To become a polite old man, a coquettish spiritual authority? Or 
rather to wish oneself the half-wit of the Liberation? To watch yourself be elect- 
ed to the Academy, or dream of being a Venezuelan maquis? Who fails to see 
the qualitative difference, the difference of genius, the vital difference between 
these two choices, these two parodies? To what is Sartre faithful? Ever and 
always to the friend Pierre-who-is-never-there. It is his peculiar destiny to cir- 
culate pure air when he speaks, even if this pure air, the air of absences, is 
difficult to breathe. 


The Philosophy of Crime Novels 1 

La Serie Noire is celebrating a momentous occasion — its release of #1000. The 
coherence, the idea of this collection owes everything to its editor. Of course 
everyone knew something about cops, criminals, and their relationship, even if 
it was only from reading the papers, or the knowledge of special reports. But lit- 
erature is like consciousness, it always lags behind. These things had not yet 
found their contemporary literary expression, or they hadn't attained the status 
of common-place in literature. The credit for closing this gap at a particularly 
favorable moment goes to Marcel Duhamel. 2 Malraux had this insight to offer 
in his preface to the translation of Sanctuary: "Faulkner knows very well that 
detectives don't exist; that police power stems neither from psychology nor from 
clarity of vision, but from informants; and that it's not Moustachu or Tapinois, 
the modest thinkers of the Quai des Orfevres, who bring about the apprehen- 
sion of the murderer on the loose, but rank-and-file cops".... La Serie Noire was 
above all an adaptation of Sanctuary for a mass market (look at Chase's No 
Orchids for Miss Blandish), and a generalization of Malraux's preface. 

In the old conception of the detective novel, we would be shown a genius 
detective devoting the whole power of his mind to the search and discovery of 
the truth. The idea of truth in the classic detective novel was totally philosoph- 
ical, that is, it was the product of the effort and the operations of the mind. So 
it is that police investigation modeled itself on philosophical inquiry, and con- 
versely, gave to philosophy an unusual object to elucidate: crime. 

There were two schools of truth: 1) the French school (Descartes), where 
truth is a question of some fundamental intellectual intuition, from which the 
rest is rigorously deduced; and 2) the English school (Hobbes), according to 
which truth is always induced from something else, interpreted from sensory 
indices. In a word, deduction and induction. The detective novel reproduced 
this duality, though in a movement which was proper to the literary genre, and 



has produced famous examples of each. The English school: Conan Doyle gave 
us Sherlock Holmes, the masterful interpreter of signs, the inductive genius. 
The French school: Gaboriau gave us Tabaret and Lecoq; and Gaston Leroux, 
Rouletabille, who with "a circle between the two lobes of his forehead," is 
always invoking "the right track of reason" and explicitly opposing his theory of 
certainty to the inductive method, the Anglo-Saxon theory of signs. 

The criminal side of the affair can also be quite interesting. By a metaphysi- 
cal law of reflection, the cop is no more extraordinary than the criminal — he, 
too, professes allegiance to justice and truth and the powers of deduction and 
induction. And so you have the possibility of two series of novels: the hero of the 
first is the detective, and the hero of the second is the criminal. With Rouletabille 
and Cheri-Bibi, Leroux brought each series to its perfection. But never the twain 
shall meet: they are the motors for two different series (they could never meet 
without one of them looking ridiculous; cf Leblanc's attempt to put Arsene 
Lupin together with Sherlock Holmes).' Rouletabille and Cheri-Bibi: Each is the 
double of the other, they have the same destiny, the same pain, the same quest 
for the truth. This is the destiny and quest of Oedipus (Rouletabille is destined 
to kill his father; Cheri-Bibi attends a performance of Oedipus and shouts: "He's 
just like me!"). After philosophy, Greek tragedy. 

Still we mustn't be too surprised that the crime novel so faithfully repro- 
duces Greek tragedy, since Oedipus is always called on to indicate any such 
coincidence. While it is the only Greek tragedy that already has this detective 
structure, we should marvel that Sophocles's Oedipus is a detective, and not that 
the detective novel has remained Oedipal. We should give credit where credit is 
due: to Leroux, a phenomenal novelist in French literature, who had a genius 
for striking phrases: "not the hands, not the hands," "the ugliest of men," "Fatal- 
itas," "men who open doors and men who shut traps," "a circle between two 
lobes," etc. 

But the birth of La Serie Noire has been the death of the detective novel, 
properly speaking. To be sure, the great majority of novels in the collection have 
been content to change the detective's way of doing things (he drinks, he's in 
love, he's restless) but keep the same structure: the surprise ending that brings 
all the characters together for the final explanation that fingers one of them as 
the guilty party. Nothing new there. 

What the new literary use and exploitation of cops and criminals taught us 
is that police activity has nothing to do with a metaphysical or scientific search 
for the truth. Police work no more resembles scientific inquiry than a telephone 
call from an informant, inter-police relations, or mechanisms of torture resem- 
ble metaphysics. As a general rule, there are two distinct cases: 1) the 
professional murder, where the police know immediately more or less who is 
responsible; and 2) the sexual murder, where the guilty party could be anyone. 
But in either case the problem is not framed in terms of truth. It is rather an 



astonishing compensation of errot. The suspect, known to the cops but never 
charged, is either nabbed in some other domain than his usual sphere of crim- 
inal activity (whence the American schema of the untouchable gangster, who 
is arrested and deported for tax fraud); or he is provoked, forced to show him- 
self, as they lie in wait for him. 

With La Serie Noire, we've become accustomed to the sort of cop who dives 
right in, come what may, regardless of the errors he may commit, but confident 
that something will emerge. At the other extreme, we've been allowed to watch 
the meticulous preparation of a sting operation, and the domino effect of little 
errors that loom ever larger as the moment of reckoning approaches (it's in this 
sense that La Serie Noire influenced cinema). The totally innocent reader is 
shocked in the end by so many errors committed on both sides. Even when the 
cops themselves are hatching a nasty plot, they make so many blunders, they 
defy belief. 

This is because the truth is in no way the ambient element of the investiga- 
tion: not for a moment does one believe that this compensation of errors aims 
for the discovery of the truth as its final objective. On the contrary, this com- 
pensation has its own dimension, its own sufficiency, a kind of equilibrium or 
the reestablishment of it, a process of restitution that allows a society, at the lim- 
its of cynicism, to hide what it wants to hide, reveal what it wants to reveal, 
deny all evidence, and champion the improbable. The killer still at large may be 
killed for his own errors, and the police may have to sacrifice one of their own 
for still other errors, and so it is that these compensations have no other object 
than to perpetuate an equilibrium that represents a society in its entirety at the 
heights of its power of falsehood. 

This same process of restitution, equilibrium or compensation also appears 
in Greek tragedy (Aeschylus, for example). The greatest novel of this kind, and 
the most admirable in every respect, is not part of La Serie Noire: it's Robbe- 
Grillet's Les Gommes, which develops an incredible compensation of errors 
whose keynotes are an Aeschylean equilibrium and an Oedipal quest. 

From a literary point of view, La Serie Noire made the power of falsehood 
the primary detective element. And this entails another consequence: clearly, 
the relation between cop and criminal is no longer one of metaphysical reflec- 
tion. The interpenetration is real, and the complicity deep and compensatory. 
Fair's fair, quid pro quo, they exchange favors and no less frequently betrayals 
on the one side and the other. We are always led back to the great trinity of 
falsehood: informant-corruption-torture. But it goes without saying that the 
cops do not of their own accord initiate this disquieting complicity. The meta- 
physical reflection of the old detective novel has given way to a mirroring of 
the other. A society indeed reflects itself to itself in its police and its criminals, 
even while it protects itself from them by means of a fundamental deep com- 
plicity between them. 



We know that a capitalist society more willingly pardons rape, murder, or 
kidnapping than a bounced check, which is its only theological crime, the crime 
against spirit. We know very well that important political dealings entail any 
number of scandals and real crimes; conversely, we know that crime is organized 
in business-like fashion, with structures as precise as a board of directors or 
managers. La Se'rie Noire introduced us to a politics-crime combo that, despite 
the evidence of History past and present, had not been given a contemporary 
literary expression. 

The Kefauver report, 4 and especially the book by Turkus, Societe anonyme 
pour assassinats, were the source of inspiration for many of the texts in La Se'rie 
Noire. Many writers did little more than plagiarize them, or rather they turned 
them into popular novels. Whether it's the Trujillo regime, or Battista, or Hitler, 
or Franco — what will be next when everyone is talking about Ben Barka — that 
begets a hybrid that is properly Serie Noire; whether it's Asturias writing a novel 
of genius: M. le President," or whether it's people sitting around trying to figure 
out the secret of this unity of the grotesque and the terrifying, the terrible and 
the clownish, which binds together political power, economic power, crime and 
police activity — it's all already in Suetonius, Shakespeare, Jarry, Asturias: La 
Serie Noire has recycled it all. Have we really made any progress in understand- 
ing this hybrid of the grotesque and terrifying which, under the right 
circumstances, could determine the fate of us all? 

So it is that La Serie Noire has transformed our imaginings, our evaluations 
of the police. It was high time. Was it good for us to participate as "active read- 
ers" in the old detective novel, and thereby lose our grip on reality and thus our 
power of indignation? Indignation wells up in us because of reality, or because 
of masterful works of art. La Serie Noire indeed seems to have pastiched every 
great novelist: imitation Faulkner, but also imitation Steinbeck, imitation Cald- 
well, imitation Asturias. And it followed the trends: first American, then it 
rediscovered French crime. 

True, La Serie Noire is full of stereotypes: the puerile presentation of sexual- 
ity, or what about the eyes of the killers (only Chase managed to lend a 
particular cold life to his killers, who are headstrong and non-conformist). But 
its greatness belongs to Duhamel's idea, which remains the driving force behind 
recent releases: a reorganization of the vision of the world that every honest per- 
son has concerning cops and criminals. 

Clearly, a new realism is insufficient to make good literature. In bad litera- 
ture, the real as such is the object of stereotypes, puerile notions, and cheap 
fantasies, worse than any imaginative imbecile could dream up. But more pro- 
found than either the real or the imaginary is parody. La Serie Noire may have 
suffered from an over-abundant production, but it has kept a unity, a tendency, 
which periodically found expression in a beautiful work (the contemporary suc- 
cess of James Bond, who was never integrated into La Serie Noire, seems to 



represent a serious literary regression, though compensated for by the cinema, a 
return to a rosy conception of the secret agent). 

The most beautiful works of La Serie Noire are those in which the real finds 
its proper parody, such that in its turn the parody shows us directions in the real 
which we would not have found otherwise. These are some of the great works 
of parody, though in different modes: Chase's Miss Shumway Waves a Wand; 
Williams's The Diamond Bikini; or Hime's negro novels, which always have 
extraordinary moments. Parody is a category that goes beyond real and imagi- 
nary. And let's not forget #50: James Gunn's Deadlier than the Male. 

The trend in those days was American: it was said that certain novelists were 
writing under American pseudonyms. Deadlier than the Male is a marvelous 
work: the power of falsehood at its height, an old woman pursuing an assassin 
by smell, a murder attempt in the dunes — what a parody, you would have to 
read it — or reread it — to believe it. Who is James Gunn anyway? Only a single 
work in La Serie Noire appeared under his name. So now that La Serie Noire is 
celebrating the release of #1000, and is re-releasing many older works, and as a 
tribute to Marcel Duhamel, I humbly request the re-release of my personal 
favorite: #50. 


On Gilbert Simondon 1 

The principle of individuation is by all accounts a respectable, even venerable 
notion. Until quite recently, however, it seems modern philosophy has been 
wary of adopting the problem as its own. The accepted wisdom of physics, 
biology, and psychology has led thinkers to attenuate the principle, but not to 
reinterpret it. But Gilbert Simondon makes no small display of intellectual 
power with a profoundly original theory of individuation implying a whole 
philosophy. Simondon begins from two critical remarks: 1) Traditionally, the 
principle of individuation is modeled on a completed individual, one who is 
already formed. The question being asked is merely what constitutes the indi- 
viduality of this being, that is to say, what characterizes an already individuated- 
being. And because we put the individual after the individuation, in the same 
breath we put the principle of individuation before the process of becoming an 
individual, beyond the individuation itself. 2) From that point on, individua- 
tion is perceived to be everywhere. We make it a characteristic coextensive with 
being, at least with concrete being (even if it were divine). We remake all being 
in its image, as well as the first moment of being beyond the concept. This mis- 
take is related to the previous one. In reality, the individual can only be 
contemporaneous with its individuation, and individuation, contemporaneous 
with the principle: the principle must be truly genetic, and not simply a prin- 
ciple of reflection. Also, the individual is not just a result, but an environment 
of individuation. However, on this view, individuation is no longer coextensive 
with being; it must represent a moment, which is neither all of being nor its 
first moment. We must be able to localize individuation, to determine it with 
respect to being, in a movement that will cause a passage from the pre-indi- 
vidual to the individual. 

The prior condition of individuation, according to Simondon, is the exis- 
tence of a metastable system. By not recognizing the existence of such systems, 



philosophy arrived at the two previous aporias. But what essentially defines a 
metastable system is the existence of a "disparation," the existence of at least 
two different dimensions, two disparate levels of reality, between which there 
is not yet any interactive communication. A metastable system thus implies a 
fundamental difference, like a state of dissymmetry. It is nonetheless a system 
insofar as the difference therein is like potential energy, like a difference of poten- 
tial distributed within certain limits. Simondon's conception, it seems to me, 
can in this respect be assimilated to a theory of intensive quanta, since each 
intensive quantum in itself is difference. An intensive quantum includes dif- 
ference within itself, contains factors of the E-E' type, ad infinitum, and 
establishes itself first and foremost between disparate levels, between heteroge- 
neous orders that enter into communication only much later, when extended. 
Like the metastable system, an intensive quantum is the structure (not yet the 
synthesis) of heterogeneity. 

The importance of Simondon's thesis is now apparent. By discovering the 
prior condition of individuation, he rigorously distinguishes singularity and 
individuality. Indeed the metastable, defined as pre-individual being, is per- 
fectly well endowed with singularities that correspond to the existence and the 
distribution of potentials. (Is this not the same as in the theory of differential 
equations, where the existence and the distribution of "singularities" are of 
another nature than the "individual" forms of the integral curves in their 
neighborhood?) Singular without being individual: that is the state of pre-indi- 
vidual being. It is difference, disparity, "disparation." And the finest pages in 
the book are those where Simondon shows how disparity, as in the first 
moment of being, a singular moment, is in fact presupposed by all other states, 
whether unification, integration, tension, opposition, resolution of opposi- 
tions, etc. Most notably, against Lewin's Gestaltheorie, Simondon holds that the 
idea of "disparation" is more profound than the idea of opposition, and the 
idea ofpotential energy more profound than the idea of a field of forces: "Prior 
to odo-logical space, there is an overlapping of perspectives which does not 
allow one to grasp the determined object, because there are no dimensions with 
respect to which the unique whole could be ordered; the fluctatio animi, which 
precedes any resolute action, is not a hesitation between several paths, but a 
mobile overlapping of incompatible wholes, almost similar, and yet disparate" 
(p. 233). An overlapping world of discrete singularities, which overlaps all the 
more given that the discrete singularities do not yet communicate, or are not 
yet taken up in an individuality: such is the first moment of being. 

So how will individuation arise from this condition? Clearly, it must estab- 
lish an interactive communication between dimensions or disparate realities; it 
must actualize the potential energy or integrate the singularities; it needs to 
resolve the problem which disparate realities pose, by organizing a new dimen- 
sion in which they form a unique whole at a higher level (analogous to the 



perception of depth that emerges from retinal images). This category of prob- 
lem acquires in Simondon's thought tremendous importance insofar as the 
category is endowed with an objective sense: it no longer designates a provi- 
sional state of our knowledge, an undetermined subjective concept, but a 
moment of being, the first pre-individual moment. And in Simondon's dialec- 
tic, the problematic replaces the negative. Individuation is thus the 
organization of a solution, the organization of a "resolution" for a system that 
is objectively problematic. This resolution must be conceived in two comple- 
mentary ways: on the one hand, as internal resonance, which is "the most 
primitive mode of communication between realities of different orders" (and 
in my opinion, Simondon has succeeded in making 'internal resonance' an 
extremely productive concept, open to all sorts of applications, especially in 
psychology, in the area of affectivity); on the other hand, as information, which 
in its turn establishes communication between two disparate levels, one of 
them defined by a form already contained in the receiver, and the other by the 
signal brought in from the outside (here we encounter Simondon's preoccupa- 
tions with cybernetics, and a whole theory of signification in the relations of 
the individual). In any event, individuation appears as the advent of a new 
moment of Being, the moment of phase-locked being, coupled to itself: "Indi- 
viduation creates the phase-locking, because the phases are but the 
development of being, on the one side and the other, of itself... Pre-individual 
being is phaseless, whereas being after individuation is phase-locked. Such a 
conception identifies, or at least connects the individuation and the becoming 
of being" (p. 276). 

To this point I have indicated only the very general principles of the book. 
In its detail, the analysis is organized around two centers. First, a study of the 
different domains of individuation; in particular, the differences between 
physical and vital individuation receive a profound exposition. The economy 
of internal resonance looks different in each case; the physical individual is 
content to receive information only once, and reiterate an initial singularity, 
whereas the living being receives several contributions of information in suc- 
cession and balances several singularities; and most importantly, the physical 
individual creates and prolongs itself to the limit of the body — for example, 
crystal — whereas the living being grows from the interior and the exterior, 
with the whole content of its interior in contact "topologically" with the con- 
tent of interior space (on this point Simondon writes an admirable chapter, 
"topology and ontogenesis"). It may be surprising that Simondon did not avail 
himself of the research conducted by the Child school in the domain of biol- 
ogy, dealing with the gradients and resolution systems in egg development, 
since their work suggests the idea of individuation by intensity, an intensive 
field of individuation, which would confirm Simondon's theses in several 
respects. But certainly this is due to Simondon's desire not to restrict himself 


to a biological determination of the individual, but to specify increasingly 
complex levels. We therefore find a properly psychic individuation emerging 
precisely when the vital functions no longer suffice to resolve the problems 
encountered by the living being, and when a new dose of pre-individual real- 
ity is mobilized in a new problematic, in a new process of problem solving (cf. 
his very interesting theory of affectivity). In turn, the psyche opens up to a 
"trans-individual collective." 

Now we see the second center of Simondon's analyses: his moral vision of 
the world. The fundamental idea is that the pre-individual, a "source of future 
metastable states," must remain associated with the individual. Estheticism is 
therefore condemned as that act by which an individual cuts him or herself off 
from the pre-individual reality from which he or she emerged. As a result, the 
individual is closed in on a singularity, refusing to communicate, and provok- 
ing a loss of information. "Ethics exists to the extent that there is information, 
in other words, signification overcoming a disparation of the elements of 
being, such that what is interior is also exterior" (p. 297). Ethics thus follows 
a kind of movement running from the pre-individual to the trans-individual 
via individuation. (The reader may indeed ask whether, in his ethics, Simon- 
don has not reintroduced the form of the Self which he had averted with his 
theory of disparity, i.e. his theory of the individual conceived as dephased and 
multiphased being.) 

In any event, few books can impress a reader as much as this one can: it 
demonstrates the extent to which a philosopher can both find his inspiration 
in contemporary science and at the same time connect with the major prob- 
lems of classical philosophy — even as he transforms and renews those 
problems. The new concepts established by Simondon seem to me extremely 
important; their wealth and originality are striking, when they're not outright 
inspiring. What Simondon elaborates here is a whole ontology, according to 
which Being is never One. As pre-individual, being is more than one — 
metastable, superposed, simultaneous with itself. As individuated, it is still 
multiple, because it is "multiphased," "a phase of becoming that will lead to 
new processes." 


Humans: A Dubious Existence 1 

Foucault's book begins with a detailed description of Velazquez's Maids of 
Honor — or rather a description of the painting's space: we see the painter, but in 
the process of looking; we see the canvas he is painting, but only from the back; 
we see the people converging on a point just in front of the painted surface; and 
the true model, the king, reflected only in a mirror in the background, is con- 
templating all those contemplating him, thereby forming the great absence and 
yet also the extrinsic center of the work. As we read these fine pages by Michel 
Foucault, we see both the elements and the moments of what is called a repre- 
sentation emerge: its system of identity, difference, doubling and reflection, a 
space all its own, down to to the essential emptiness designating the personage for 
whom the representation exists, who is himself represented in the representation, 
and who yet is not present in person — this is "the king's place." 

Foucault defines the Classical Age, which falls between the Renaissance and 
our modernity, by the notion of representation. The Renaissance still under- 
stood its knowledge as an "interpretation of signs"; the relation of the sign to 
what it signifies was covered by the rich domain of "similitudes." Once again, 
Foucault's analysis from the outset is so masterful, and the tone he strikes so 
new, that the reader senses a new form of thought being born in this apparent 
reflection on history. According to Foucault, every thought unfolds in a "char- 
acteristic" space. However, in the seventeenth-century, the space of signs is 
tending toward dissolution, giving way to the space of representation which 
reflects significations and decomposes similitudes, causing a new order of iden- 
tities and differences to emerge. {Don Quixote is precisely the first great work to 
acknowledge the bankruptcy of signs in favor ofa world of representation.) This 
Order, this form of representation, will be completed by positive orders found- 
ed on empirical results: "Natural History," "Theory of Money and Value," 
"General Grammar." These three orders will produce all kinds of resonances 



among themselves, due to their common membership in the space of represen- 
tation: "character" is the representation of the individual of nature; "money," 
the representation of the objects of need; the "name," the representation of 
language itself. 

In vain, however, does one search for the human sciences, allegedly created in 
the eighteenth-century. The preceding analysis in fact shows that the human does 
not exist and cannot exist in this classical space of representation. Again, it's the 
king's place: "human nature" is certainly represented, in a doubling of represen- 
tation that attributes this human nature to Nature, but the Human does not yet 
exist in its proper nature or its sub-representative domain. The Human does not 
exist "as an opaque first reality, as a difficult object, the sovereign subject of all 
possible knowledge." 2 It is in this sense that Foucault subtitles his book: "An 
Archeology of the Human Sciences." What were the conditions of possibility of 
the human sciences, or what is humanity's true date of birth? 

There is a precise answer: the Human can exist in the space of knowledge 
only once the "classical" world of representation itself has collapsed under the 
pressure of non-representable and non-representative forces. This is the emer- 
gence of something obscure, or a dimension of depth. Before the Human can 
exist, biology must first be born, and political economy and philology: the living 
organism's conditions of possibility are sought in life itself (Cuvier), the condi- 
tions of exchange and profit are sought in the depths of labor (Ricardo), and the 
possibility of discourse and grammar is sought in the historical depth of lan- 
guages, in its system of inflexions, in the series of its endings and the 
modifications of its radicals (Grimm, Bopp). "Once living organisms have left 
the space of representation to lodge themselves in the specific depth of life; and 
wealth, in the progressive development of the forms of production; and words, 
in the becoming of language;" then natural history gives way to biology, the the- 
ory of money to political economy, and general grammar to philology. 

At the same time, humanity discovers itself in two different ways: on the one 
hand, as dominated by labor, life, and language; henceforth as an object of new 
positive sciences, which will model themselves on biology or political economy 
or philology; on the other hand, humanity sees itself as founding this new posi- 
tivity on the category of his own finitude: the metaphysics of the infinite will be 
replaced by an analytic of the finite that uncovers "transcendental" structures in 
life, labor, and language. Humanity thus comes to have a double being. What has 
collapsed is the sovereignty of identity in representation. The Human is traversed 
by an essential disparity, almost an alienation by rights, separated from itself by 
its words, by its works, and by its desires. And in this revolution that explodes 
representation, it is no longer difference that must be subordinated to the same, 
but the same that must be said of the Different: the Nietzchean revolution. 

Foucault indeed undertakes to provide the human sciences with a founda- 
tion, but it is a poisonous foundation, an archeology that smashes its idols, a 



malicious gift. Let's try to sum up Foucault's thesis: the human sciences did not 
come about when humanity took itself to be the object of representation, nor 
even when humanity discovered its history. On the contrary, they came about 
when humanity became "dehistoricized," when things (words, living organisms, 
productions) received their own history that liberated them from humanity and 
its representation. Then the human sciences were constituted by mimicking the 
new positive sciences of biology, political economy, and philology. To affirm their 
specificity, the human sciences restored the order of representation, though they 
load it down with the resources of the unconscious. 

This false equilibrium already shows that the human sciences are not sci- 
ences. They aspired to occupy the empty place in representation, but this place 
of the king cannot and must not be occupied: anthropology is a mystification. 
From the Classical Age to Modernity, we move from a state where the Human 
does not yet exist to a state where it has already disappeared. "Today we no longer 
think but in the emptiness which the Human has left. Because the emptiness 
does not create a lack: it does not prescribe a lacuna to be filled. It is nothing 
more, and nothing less than the unfolding of a space in which it is finally once 
again possible to think." 1 Indeed, this analytic of finitude invites us not to create 
a human science, but to set up a new image of thought: a thinking that no longer 
opposes itself as from the outside to the unthinkable or the unthought, but 
which would lodge the unthinkable, the unthought within itself as thought, and 
which would be in an essential relationship to it (desire is "what remains always 
unthought at the heart of thought"); a thinking that would of itself be in rela- 
tion to the obscure, and which by rights would be traversed by a sort of fissure, 
without which thought could no longer operate. The fissure cannot be filled in, 
because it is the highest object of thought: the Human does not fill it in or glue 
it back together; the fissure in humanity is the end of the Human or the origin 
of thought. A Cogito for a self underneath... Of those disciplines that treat of 
humanity, only ethnology, psychoanalysis, and linguistics effectively surpass the 
Human, providing the three major axes of the analytic of the finite. 

Now we see how this book continues Foucault's reflections on madness, on 
the transformation of the concept of madness from the Classical Age to Moder- 
nity. Above all, it is crystal clear that Foucault's three major works — Madness and 
Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, The birth of the Clinic: An 
Archaeology of Medical Perception, and The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the 
Human Sciences — form a chain in a radically new project for philosophy as well 
as the history of sciences. Foucault himself describes his method as archeological. 
What should be understood by archeology is a study of the "substratum," the 
"ground" on which thought operates, and into which it reaches to form its con- 
cepts. What Foucault shows us is the very different strata in this ground, even the 
mutations, the topographical upheavals, the organization of new spaces: for 
example, the mutation that makes the classic image of thought possible, or the 



one which prepares the modern image of thought. To be sure, one can assign 
sociological or even psychological causes to this "history"; but in reality the 
causalities at work already unfold in spaces that presuppose an image of thought. 
We must try to imagine events of pure thought, radical or transcendental events 
that determine a space of knowledge for any one era. 

Instead of an historical study of opinions (a point of view that still governs 
the traditional conception of the history of philosophy), we find a synchronic 
study of knowledge and its conditions: not conditions that make knowledge pos- 
sible in general, but those that make it real and determine it at any one moment. 

Such a method has at least two paradoxical results: it displaces the impor- 
tance of concepts, and also the importance of authors. Accordingly, what is 
important in defining the Classical Age is not mechanics or mathematics, but an 
upheaval in the economy of signs, which cease to be a figure of the world and 
slip into representation: it is only this that makes possible both mathesis and 
mechanics. Similarly, what is important to know is not that Cuvier is "fixist," but 
how in reaction against the point of view of natural history that still imprisons 
Lamarck, Cuvier establishes a biology that makes possible both evolutionism and 
discussions on evolutionism. As a general rule, and this book abounds in decisive 
examples, the major polemics involving different opinions are less important 
than the space of knowledge that makes them possible; and those authors who 
occupy a central place in a more visible history are not necessarily the same in 
archeology. Foucault says: "...I saw it more clearly in Cuvier, in Bopp, in Ricar- 
do than in Kant or Hegel," and nowhere does Foucault more resemble a great 
philosopher than when he rejects the major lineages for a more secret, subter- 
ranean genealogy. 

A new image of thought — a new conception of what thinking means is the 
task of philosophy today. This is where philosophy, no less than the sciences and 
the arts, can demonstrate its capacity for mutations and new "spaces." To the 
question, What's new in philosophy? Foucault's books all by themselves provide 
a profound answer, one of the most lively and most penetrating. In my opinion, 
The Order of Things is a great book, brimming with new thoughts. 


The Method of Dramatization 1 

Giles Deleuze, university professor of Letters and Human Sciences in Lyon, pro- 
poses to develop before the members of the French Society of Philosophy the 
following arguments: 

It is not certain that the question what is this? is a good question for dis- 
covering the essence or the Idea. It may be that questions such as who? how 
much? how? where? when? are better — as much for discovering the essence as 
for determining something more important about the Idea. 

Spatio-temporal dynamisms have several different properties: 1) they cre- 
ate particular spaces and times; 2) they provide a rule of specification for 
concepts, which without these dynamisms would remain unable to receive 
their logical articulations; 3) they determine the double aspect of differentia- 
tion, qualitative and quantitative (qualities and extensions, species and parts); 

4) they entail or designate a subject, though a "larval" or "embryonic" subject; 

5) they constitute a special theatre; 6) they express Ideas. — It is through all 
these different aspects that spatio-temporal dynamisms figure the movement 
of dramatization. 

Through dramatization, the Idea is incarnated or actualized, it differentiates 
itself. Nevertheless, the Idea in its proper content must already present charac- 
teristics that correspond with the two aspects of its differentiation. The Idea is in 
itself a system of differential relations and the result of a distribution of remark- 
able or singular points (ideal events). In other words, the Idea is fully differential 
in itself, before even differentiating itself in the actual. This status of the Idea 
explains its logical value, which is not the clear and distinct, but rather as Leib- 
niz sensed, the distinct-obscure. The method of dramatization as a whole is 
represented in the complex concept of differentiation (differential / differentia- 
tion), which gives an orientation to the questions from which I began. 




The session began at 4:30 pm at the Sorbonne, in the Michelet Amphitheatre, with 
President of the Society Mr. Jean Wahl presiding. 

Jean Wahl: Mr. Gilles Deleuze needs no introduction: you are no doubt familiar 
with his work on Hume as well as Nietzsche and Proust, and I'm sure you are all 
familiar with his extraordinary talent. So without further ado, I give you Gilles 

Gilles Deleuze: The Idea, the discovery of the Idea, is inseparable from a certain 
type of question. The Idea is first and foremost an "objectality" that corresponds, 
as such, to a certain way of asking questions. The Idea responds only to the call 
of certain questions. Platonism has determined the Idea's form of question as 
what w A?This noble question is supposed to concern the essence and is opposed 
to vulgar questions which point merely to the example or the accident. So, we 
do not ask who or what is beautiful, but what is the Beautiful. It is not where and 
when does justice exist, but what is the Just. Not how we obtain "two," but what 
is the dyad. Not how much, but what... Platonism in its entirety seems to oppose 
a major question, which is always taken up and repeated by Socrates as that of 
the essence or the Idea, to the minor questions of opinion which express only 
sloppy thinking, whether by old men and not so clever children, or by all too 
clever sophists and rhetoricians. 

And yet the privilege accorded the question What is this? reveals itself to be 
confused and doubtful, even in Plato and the Platonic tradition. Because the 
question What is this? is in the end the driving force behind those dialogues 
known as aporetic. Is it possible that the question of the essence is the question 
of contradiction, that it leads us into inextricable contradictions? But when the 
Platonic dialectic becomes something serious and positive, it takes other forms: 
who? in the Republic; how much? in Philebus; where and when? in the Sophist, 
and in which case? in Parmenides. It is almost as if the Idea were not positively 
determinable except according to a typology, a topology, a posology, a casu- 
istry — all transcendental. Plato criticizes the sophists in this instance less for 
using inferior forms of questions than for not knowing how to determine the 
conditions in which questions acquire their ideal import and sense. And when 
we examine the history of philosophy as a whole, we will have a tough time dis- 
covering any philosopher whose research was guided by the question What is 
this? Aristotle? Definitely not Aristotle. Maybe Hegel, maybe there is only Hegel 
who did so, precisely because his dialectic, that of the empty and abstract essence, 
is inseparable from the movement of contradiction. The question What is this? 
prematurely judges the Idea as simplicity of the essence; from then on, it is 
inevitable that the simple essence includes the inessential, and includes it in 



essence, and thus contradicts itself. Another way of going about it (as in the phi- 
losophy of Leibniz), and this must be completely distinguished from 
contradiction, is to have the inessential include the essential. But the inessential 
includes the essential only in case. This subsumption under "the case" constitutes 
an original language of properties and events. This procedure is totally different 
from that of contra-diction and can be called vice-diction. It is a way of approach- 
ing the Idea as a multiplicity. It is no longer a question of knowing whether the 
Idea is one or multiple, or even both at once; "multiplicity," when used as a 
substantive, designates a domain where the Idea, of itself, is much closer to the 
accident than to the abstract essence, and can be determined only with the ques- 
tions who? how? how much? where and when? in which case? — forms that sketch 
the genuine spatio-temporal coordinates of the Idea. 

First I want to ask: what is the characteristic or distinctive trait of a thing in 
general? Such a trait is twofold: the quality or qualities which it possesses, the 
extension which it occupies. Even when we cannot distinguish actual divisible 
parts, we still single out remarkable regions or points; and it is not only the inter- 
nal extension that must be examined, but also the way in which the thing 
determines and differentiates a whole external space, as in the hunting grounds 
of an animal. In a word, each thing is at the intersection of a twofold synthesis: 
a synthesis of qualification or specification, and of partition, composition, or 
organization. There is no quality without an extension underlying it, and in 
which the quality is diffused, no species without organic parts or points. These 
are the two correlative aspects of differentiation: species and parts, specification 
and organization. These constitute the conditions of the representation of things 
in general. 

But if differentiation thus has two complimentary forms, what is the agent 
of this distinction and this complimentarity? Beneath organization and specifi- 
cation, we discover nothing more than spatio-temporal dynamisms: that is to say, 
agitations of space, holes of time, pure syntheses of space, direction, and 
rhythms. The most general characteristics of branching, order, and class, right on 
up to generic and specific characteristics, already depend on such dynamisms or 
such directions of development. And simultaneously, beneath the partitioning 
phenomena of cellular division, we again find instances of dynamism: cellular 
migrations, foldings, invaginations, stretchings; these constitute a "dynamics of 
the egg." In this sense, the whole world is an egg. No concept could receive a log- 
ical division in representation, if this division were not determined already by 
sub-representational dynamisms; we see this in the Platonic process of division 
which works only in two directions: left and right, and — to take an example 
from fishing — with the help of determinations such as "surround and strike," 
"strike from top to bottom, bottom to top." 

These dynamisms always presuppose a field in which they are produced, out- 



side of which they would not be produced. This field is intensive, that is, it 
implies differences of intensity distributed at different depths. Though experi- 
ence always shows us intensities already developed in extensions, already covered 
over by qualities, we must conceive, precisely as a condition of experience, of 
pure intensities enveloped in a depth, in an intensive spatium that preexists every 
quality and every extension. Depth is the power of pure unextended spatium; 
intensity is only the power of differentiation or the unequal in itself, and each 
intensity is already difference, of the type E - E', where E in turn refers to e - e\ 
and e, to e - e', etc. Such an intensive field constitutes an environment of indi- 
viduation. This explains the insufficiency of any reminder that individuation 
functions neither through prolonged specification (species infima) nor through 
composition or division of parts (pars ultima). It is not enough to discover a dif- 
ference of nature between individuation on the one hand, and specification or 
partition on the other. Because individuation is the prior condition under which 
specification, and partition or composition, function in a system. Individuation 
is intensive, and it is presupposed by all qualities and species, by all extensions 
and parts that happen to fill up or develop the system. 

Nevertheless, since intensity is difference, differences of intensity must enter 
into communication. Something like a "difference operator" is required, to relate 
difference to difference. This role is filled by what is called an obscure precursor. 
A lightning bolt flashes between different intensities, but it is preceded by an 
obscure precursor, invisible, imperceptible, which determines in advance the 
inverted path as in negative relief, because this path is first the agent of commu- 
nication between series of differences. If it is true that every system is an intensive 
field of individuation constructed on a series of heterogeneous or disparate 
boundaries, then when the series come into communication thanks to the action 
of the obscure precursor, this communication induces certain phenomena: cou- 
pling between series, internal resonance within the system, and inevitable 
movement in the form of an amplitude that goes beyond the most basic series 
themselves. It is under these conditions that a system fills up with qualities and 
develops in extension. Because a quality is always a sign or an event that rises 
from the depths, that flashes between different intensities, and that lasts as long 
as it takes for its constitutive difference to be nullified. And most importantly, 
these conditions taken together determine spatio-temporal dynamisms, which 
themselves are responsible for generating qualities and extensions. 

Dynamisms are not absolutely subjectless, though the subjects they sustain 
are still only rough drafts, not yet qualified or composed, rather patients than 
agents, only able to endure the pressure of an internal resonance or the ampli- 
tude of an inevitable movement. A composed, qualified adult would perish in 
such an environment. The truth of embryology is that there are movements 
which the embryo alone can endure: in this instance, the only subject is larval. 
The nightmare is perhaps one of these movements which neither someone 



awake, nor even the dreamer, can endure — but only the deep-sleeper in a dream- 
less sleep. And thought itself, considered as a dynamism proper to the 
philosophical system, is perhaps in its turn one of these terrifying movements 
that are irreconcilable with a formed, qualified, and composed subject, such as 
the subject of the cogito in representation. "Regression" will be misunderstood as 
long as we fail to see in it the activation of a larval subject, the only patient able 
to endure the demands of a systematic dynamism. 

These determinations as a whole: field of individuation, series of intensive dif- 
ferences, obscure precursor, coupling, resonance and inevitable movement, larval 
subject, spatio-temporal dynamisms — these sketch out the multiple coordinates 
which correspond to the questions how much? who? how? where? and when?, and 
which gives such questions their transcendent consequences, beyond empirical 
examples. These determinations as a whole indeed are not connected with any 
particular example borrowed from a physical or biological system, but articulate 
the categories of every system in general. A physical experiment, no less than psy- 
chic experiments of the Proustian variety, imply the communication of disparate 
series, the intervention of an obscure precursor, as well as the resonances and 
inevitable movements that result. It happens all the time that dynamisms which 
are qualified in a certain way in one domain, are then taken up in an entirely dif- 
ferent mode in another domain. The geographical dynamism of the island (island 
as rupture with the continent, and island as an eruption from the deep) is taken 
up in the mythical dynamism of mankind on the deserted island (a derived rup- 
ture and an original rebeginning). Ferenczi has shown how, in sexual life, the 
physical dynamism of cellular elements is taken up in the biological dynamism of 
organs and even in the psychic dynamism of people. 

Dynamisms, and all that exists simultaneously with them, are at work in 
every form and every qualified extension of representation; they constitute not so 
much a picture as a group of abstract lines coming from the unextended and 
formless depth. This is a strange theatre comprised of pure determinations, agi- 
tating time and space, directly affecting the soul, whose actors are 
larva — Artaud's name for this theatre was "cruelty." These abstract lines consti- 
tute a drama which corresponds to this or that concept, and which also directs 
its specification and division. Scientific knowledge, the dream, as well as things 
in themselves — these all dramatize. Given any concept, we can always discover 
its drama, and the concept would never be divided or specified in the world of rep- 
resentation without the dramatic dynamisms that thus determine it in a material 
system beneath all possible representation. Take the concept of truth; it is not 
enough to ask the question: "what is the true?" As soon as we ask who wants the 
true, when and where, how and how much?, we have the task of assigning larval 
subjects (the jealous man, for example) and pure spatio-temporal dynamisms 
(sometimes we cause the very "thing" to emerge, at a certain time, in a certain 
place; sometimes we accumulate indexes and signs from moment to moment, 



following a path that never ends). Then when we learn that the concept of truth 
in representation is divided in two directions — the first according to which the 
true emerges in an intuition and as itself, the second according to which the true 
is always concluded from indices or inferred from something else as that which 
is not there — we have no trouble discovering beneath these traditional theories of 
intuition and induction, the dynamisms of inquisition or admission, accusation 
or inquiry, silently and dramatically at work, in such a way as to determine the 
theoretical division of the concept. 

What I am calling a drama particularly resembles the Kantian schema. The 
schema, according to Kant, is indeed an a priori determination of space and time 
corresponding to a concept: the shortest schema is the drama (dream or night- 
mare) of the straight line. It is precisely dynamism that divides the concept of 
line into straight and curved, and more importantly, in the Archimedian con- 
ception of limits, that allows the curve to be measured according to the straight. 
Still, what remains rather mysterious is the way in which the schema has this 
power in relation to the concept. In a certain way, all the post-Kantians have 
tried to elucidate the mystery of this hidden art, according to which dynamic 
spatio-temporal determinations genuinely have the power to dramatize a con- 
cept, although they have a nature totally different from the concept. 

The answer perhaps lies in a direction that certain post-Kantians have indicat- 
ed: pure spatio-temporal dynamisms have the power to dramatize concepts, because 
first they actualize, incarnate Ideas. We have at our disposal a point of departure to 
test this hypothesis: if it is true that dynamisms control the two inseparable aspects 
of differentiation — specification and partition, the qualification of a species and 
the organization of an extension — the Idea in turn should present two aspects, 
from which those of differentiation somehow derive. So, we have to ask ourselves 
about the nature of the Idea, about its difference of nature from the concept. 

An Idea has two principal characteristics. On the one hand, it consists of a 
group of differential relations among elements stripped of all sensible form and 
function, existing only through their reciprocal determination. Such relations are 
of the — r type (even though the question of the infinitely small will not come up 
here). In the most diverse cases, we can ask whether we are indeed confronted by 
ideal elements, that is to say, without figure or function, though reciprocally 
determinable in a network of differential relations: do phonemes fall under this 
case? And what about physical particles? Or biological genes? In each case, we 
have to continue the search till we obtain these differentials, which exist and are 
determined only in respect to one another. So you see I am invoking this princi- 
ple, called reciprocal determination, as the first aspect of sufficient reason. On 
the other hand, distributions of singularities, distributions of remarkable and 
ordinary points, correspond to these differential relations, such that a remarkable 
point can engender a series capable of being prolonged along every ordinary 



point, all the way to the vicinity of another singularity. Singularities are ideal 
events. It is possible that notions such as singular and regular, or remarkable and 
ordinary, have a greater epistemological and ontological importance for philoso- 
phy than do the notions of true and false, because sense depends on the 
distinction and distribution of these brilliant points in the Idea. In this way, we 
see how a complete determination of the Idea, or of the thing in Idea, proceeds. 
This constitutes the second aspect of sufficient reason. The Idea thus appears as 
a multiplicity which must be traversed in two directions: from the point of view 
of the variation of differential relations, and from the point of view of the distri- 
bution of singularities corresponding to particular values of those relations. What 
I previously called the operation of vice-diction merges with this twofold deter- 
mination or twofold approach, which is reciprocal and complete. 

This has several consequences. In the first place, the Idea defined in this way 
has no actuality. It is virtual, it is pure virtuality. All the differential relations, by 
virtue of reciprocal determination, and all the distributions of singularities, by 
virtue of complete determination, coexist in the virtual multiplicity of Ideas. The 
Idea is actualized precisely only insofar as its differential relations are incarnated 
in species or separate qualities, and insofar as the concomitant singularities are 
incarnated in an extension that corresponds to this quality. A species is made up 
of differential relations among genes, just as organic parts are made up of incar- 
nated singularities (cf. "loci"). However, we must emphasize the absolute 
condition of non-resemblance: the species or the quality does not resemble the 
differential relations that it incarnates, no more so than the singularities resem- 
ble the organized extension which actualizes them. 

If it is true that qualification and partition constitute the two aspects of dif- 
ferentiation, it follows that the Idea actualizes itself through differentiation. 
When the Idea actualizes itself, it differentiates itself. In itself and in its virtuali- 
ty, the Idea is completely undifferentiated. However, it is not at all indeterminate. 
We must absolutely underline the difference between the two operations, whose 
distinctive trait is this: — , differential (1) / differentiation (n). The Idea in itself, 
or the thing in Idea, is not at all differentiated, since it lacks the necessary quali- 
ties and parts. But it is fully and completely differential, since it has at its disposal 
the relations and singularities that will be actualized, without resemblance, in the 
qualities and parts. It seems, then, that each thing has two "halves" — uneven, 
dissimilar, and unsymmetrical — each of which is itself divided into two: an ideal 
half, which reaches into the virtual and is constituted both by differential rela- 
tions and by concomitant singularities; and an actual half, constituted both by 
the qualities that incarnate those relations and by the parts that incarnate those 
singularities. The question of the "ens omni modo determinatum" must be posed 
in the following way: a thing in Idea can be completely determined {differential), 
and yet lack the determinations that constitute actual existence {the thing is 
undifferentiated). If we characterize the state of the fully differential Idea as dis- 



tinct, and the state of the actualized, i.e. diffetentiated, Idea as clear, then the pro- 
portion that governs the clear and distinct must be abandoned: the Idea in itself 
is not clear and distinct; on the contrary, it is distinct and obscure. In this same 
sense, the Idea is Dionysian: that zone of obscure distinction which it preserves 
within itself, that undifferentiation which is no less perfectly determined — this 
is its drunkenness. 

I should make clear under what conditions the word "virtual" can be rigor- 
ously used (in the way Bergson, for example, uses it when he distinguishes virtual 
and actual multiplicities, or the way in which Mr. Ruyer uses it). The virtual is 
not opposed to the real; it is the real that is opposed to the possible. Virtual is 
opposed to actual, and therefore, possesses a full reality. We saw that this reality 
of the virtual is constituted by the differential relations and the distributions of 
singularities. In every respect, the virtual echoes the formulation which Proust 
gave to his states of experience: "real without being actual, ideal without being 
abstract." 5 The virtual and the possible are opposed in several ways. On the one 
hand, the possible is such that the real is constructed as its resemblance. It is even 
because of this defect that the possible looks suspiciously retrospective or retroac- 
tive; it is suspected of being constructed after the fact, in resemblance to the real 
which it is supposed to precede. This is why, too, when someone asks what more 
is found in the real, there is nothing to point out except "the same" thing as 
posited outside representation. The possible is just the concept as principle of the 
representation of the thing, under the following categories: the identity of what 
is representing, and the resemblance of what is being represented. On the other 
hand, the virtual belongs to the Idea and does not resemble the actual, no more 
than the actual resembles the virtual. The Idea is an image without resemblance; 
the virtual actualizes itself not through resemblance, but through divergence and 
differentiation. Differentiation or actualization is always creative with respect to 
what it actualizes, whereas realization is always reproductive or limiting. The dif- 
ference between the virtual and the actual is no longer the difference of the Same 
insofar as the Same is posited once in representation, and once again outside rep- 
resentation. Rather, it is the difference of the Other, insofar as the Other appears 
once in the Idea, and once again, though in a totally different manner, in the 
process of actualizing the Idea. 

The extraordinary world of Leibniz puts us in touch with an ideal continuum. 
This continuity, according to Leibniz, is defined not at all by homogeneity, but 
by the coexistence of all the variations of differential relations, and of the distri- 
butions of singularities that correspond to them. The state of this world is 
beautifully expressed by the image of murmuring, or the ocean, or a water mill, 
or vanishing, or even drunkenness: they all bespeak a Dionysian depth rumbling 
beneath this apparently Apollonian philosophy. It has often been asked what the 
notions "compossible" and "incompossible" consist of, and how exactly they dif- 
fer from the possible and the impossible. It is difficult to give an answer, perhaps 



because Leibniz's philosophy as a whole exhibits a certain hesitation between a 
clear conception of the possible and the obscure conception of the virtual. In 
fact, the incompossible and the compossible have nothing whatsoever to do with 
the contradictory and the non-contradictory. It has to do with something else: 
divergence and convergence. What defines the compossibility of a world is the 
convergence of those series which are each constructed in the vicinity of a sin- 
gularity, all the way to the vicinity of another singularity. The incompossibility 
of worlds, on the other hand, arises at that moment when the generated series 
diverge. The best of all possible worlds therefore encompasses a maximum of 
relations and singularities, under the condition of continuity, in other words, a 
maximum convergence of series. Now we see how, in such a world, individual 
essences or monads are formed. Leibniz says both that the world does not exist 
outside the monads that express it, and that God created the world rather than 
the monads (God did not create Adam the sinner, but the world in which Adam 
sinned). The singularities of the world serve as principles for the constitution of 
individualities: each individual envelops a certain number of singularities and 
clearly expresses their relations with respect to his own body. Consequently, the 
expressed world virtually preexists the expressive individualities, but does not 
exist actually outside the individualities which express it little by little. The 
process of individuation determines the relations and singularities of the ideal 
world to be incarnated in the qualities and extensions filling up the intervals 
between individuals. This approach toward a "depth" populated by relations and 
singularities, the resulting formation of individual essences, and the consequent 
determination of qualities and extensions, are the elements that constitute a 
method of vice-diction, which itself constitutes a theory of multiplicities, always 
subsuming each thing under its "case." 

The notion of differenrial / differentiation ( — ) expresses not only a math- 
ematico-biological complex, but the very condition of any cosmology, as the two 
halves of the object. The differential (1) expresses the nature of a pre-individual 
depth, which is in no way reducible to an abstract universal, but which entails 
relations and singularities characterizing virtual multiplicities or Ideas. Differen- 
tiation (n) expresses the actualization of these relations and singularities in 
qualities and extensions, species and parts, as objects of representation. The two 
aspects of differentiation thus correspond to the two aspects of the differential, 
but they do not resemble them: we need a third thing which determines the Idea 
to actualize itself, to incarnate itself in a particular way. I tried to show how this 
role was filled by the intensive fields of individuation, with their precursors to 
put them in a state of activity, with their larval subjects formed around singular- 
ities, and with their dynamisms filling up the system. The complete notion is 
this: (in)differential / (in)differentiation. It is the spatio-temporal dynamisms 
within the fields of individuation that determine the Ideas to actualize themselves 



in the differentiated aspects of the object. Though a subject is given in represen- 
tation, we still know nothing. We learn only insofar as we discover the Idea 
operating underneath the concept, the field or fields of individuation, the system 
or systems that envelop the Idea, the dynamisms that determine the Idea to 
incarnate itself; it is only in such conditions that we can lift the veil of mystery 
concerning the division of the concept. All these conditions define dramatiza- 
tion, and its attendant questions: in what case? who? how? how much?The shortest 
schema is the concept of the straight line only because it is first the drama of the 
Idea of line, the differential of the straight and the curve, the dynamism that 
operates in silence. The clear and distinct is the claim of the concept in the Apol- 
lonian world of representation; but beneath representation there is always the 
Idea and its distinct-obscure depth, a drama beneath every logos. 


Jean Wahl: Let me thank you on everyone's behalf for your talk. Rarely have we 
ever witnessed such a — well, I'm not going to say system, but an attempt to peer 
through the lens of differentiation, understood as twofold, giving us a world 
understood perhaps as fourfold. But let me stop here, since my role as President 
is to open up the floor to questions. 

Pierre-Maxime Schuhl:" I would like to ask Deleuze something. I would like to 
know how, from his perspective, the opposition between the natural and the arti- 
ficial would look, since it is not spontaneously dynamic, but becomes dynamic 
through auto-regulation. 

Gilles Deleuze: Is it not because the artificial entails its own dynamisms which 
have no equivalent in nature? You have indeed shown the importance of the cat- 
egories 'natural' and 'artificial' particularly in Greek thought. Precisely, however, 
are these categories not differentiated according to dynamisms, according to 
approaches, places, and directions? But in systems of nature as well as artifice, we 
find intensive organizations, precursors, larval subjects, every sort of vitality, a 
vital character, even though in another mode... 

Pierre-Maxime Schuhl: This is beginning to sound like the poet Nerval. 

Gilles Deleuze: Well, I should hope so. 

Pierre-Maxime Schuhl: In Phelibos, 64 b, Socrates says that creation has been 
completed by an abstract order that will have the power to animate itself. In 
the domain of the spirit, this happens all by itself. So what's left over is the 
immense domain of matter... 



Gilles Deleuze: We would have to classify the different systems of intensity. 
From this perspective, the regulatory operations you alluded to a moment ago 
would have a decisive importance. 

Pierre-Maxime Schuhl: I would just like to add a simple anecdote, concerning 
the allusions Deleuze made to the different ways of thinking about fishing in the 
Sophist. A few years ago, Leroi-Gourhan published a book on technology that 
revamps exactly these Platonic distinctions. I asked him if he had the Sophist in 
mind, and he said he had never thought about it. This confirms the permanence 
of certain divisions that were underlined. 

Noel Mouloud: 6 I won't follow Mr. Deleuze into the ontological depths of his 
conception of the Idea. His way of posing the problem goes beyond my usual 
habits of thought. What I found most interesting in Mr. Deleuze's talk is this 
conception of art; clearly, the artist takes up a non-serial temporality, which is 
not yet organized, or a multiplicity of lived and precategorical spacialities, and 
through his art or artifice, he brings these to a particular language, and a partic- 
ular syntax. The artist's style or personal recreation consists in imposing as 
objective, structures which have been borrowed from a non-objective stage. And 
there you have a good part of the dynamism of art. 

I would like to ask a few questions about certain points I find troublesome. 
For example, how does one apply this conception of a priority of spatiality or tem- 
porality to science? In one sense, we can think of space, time, and dynamism as 
the opposite of the concept, I mean, as that which introduces variety in a concept 
that tends toward stability. In another sense, however, space and time, at least as 
they are accessible to our intuition, also tend toward a certain stability, a certain 
immobility. Early physics and early chemistry began with a mechanics that relied 
heavily on the idea of spatial continuities or the composition of elements in a 
compound. Early biology began with a kind of intuition of duration, becoming, 
a continuous unfolding that tied apparent forms together and went beyond their 
separations. And mathematization, for its part, seems to have introduced a second 
dramatization. In this case, the dramatization comes from the concept, and not so 
much from intuition. So, when chemistry arrives at the stage of electronic analy- 
sis, there are no more genuine substances, genuine valences; there are only linking 
functions that are created as the process develops and are understood one after the 
other. We have a process that is analyzable only by the mathematics of the elec- 
tron. And as chemistry becomes quantic, or undulatory, a combination can 
absolutely not be conceived as a simple and necessary transition. It's a probability 
that results from a calculation with an energetic basis, in which one must keep in 
mind, for example, the symmetrical or unsymmetrical spin of electrons, or the 
overlapping fields of two waves that create a particular energy, etc. The energetic 
inventory can be taken only by the algebrist, and not by the geometer. In a simi- 



lar sort of way, modern biology began with the combinatorial analysis of genetic 
elements, or when the chemical or radioactive effects on genes was studied — how 
they affected genetic developments or created mutations. So, the first intuition of 
biologists, who believed in a continuous evolution, was destroyed and reformu- 
lated in a way by a more mathematical and operational science. I just wanted to 
emphasize that I have the feeling the more dramatic aspects, or if you prefer, the 
more dialectical aspects of conception are contributed not by the imagination, but 
by the work of rationalization. 

In general, I don't see how the development of concepts, in the mathemati- 
cal sciences, can be compared to a biological unfolding, to the "growth of an 
egg." The development is more accurately dialectical: systems are constructed in 
a coherent manner, and it does happen that they must be smashed from time to 
time in order to be rebuilt. But I've already spoken too long. 

Gilles Deleuze: I won't disagree with you. I think our differences amount most- 
ly to terminology. Concepts, it seems to me, bring about dramatization less than 
they endure it. Concepts are differentiated through operations that are not exact- 
ly conceptual and point to Ideas. One of the notions you alluded to, "a 
non-localizable liason," goes beyond the field of representation and the localiza- 
tion of concepts in this field. They are "ideal" liasons. 

Noel Mouloud: I don't really want to have to defend the notion of concept, which 
is ambiguous at best, over-saturated with philosophical traditions: for example, 
the Aristotelian concept is a model of stability. But I would define the scientific 
concept by the work of an essentially mathematical thought. Mathematical 
thought ceaselessly smashes the preestablished orders of our intuition. And I 
would point out, too, the ambiguous use that could be made of the term idea, if 
one were to associate it too closely, as Bergson in fact did, with some organizing 
schema, whose foundations are in a profound, almost biological intuition. The 
sciences, and even the biological sciences, have not developed in the direction 
these schemas indicated. Or if they indeed began in that direction, mathematical 
and experimental models quickly overturned the schemas in question. 

Jean Wahl: In this case again, I see possible agreement and a difference of lan- 
guage rather than a difference of conception. 

Ferdinand AlquieY I very much admired the talk our good friend Deleuze just 
gave. The question I'd like to ask him is simple, and concerns the beginning of 
his speech. Deleuze condemned, right at the start, the question What is this? and 
then never came back to it. I can accept what came after that, and I acknowledge 
the extraordinary wealth procured by the other questions he wants to ask. But I 
can't accept his hasty rejection of the question What is this?, nor can I accept what 



he said, a little intimidatingly, when he claimed that no other philosopher than 
Plato had ever asked such a question, except for Hegel. I confess I'm a little 
shocked: because I can think of numerous philosophers who have asked this 
question. Leibniz himself asked: "what is a subject?" and "what is a monad?" 
Berkeley, too, asked: "what is being?" and "what is the essence and the significa- 
tion of the word being?" Kant also asked: "what is an object?" I could cite many 
more examples, so many that no one would contest my point, I hope. It seems 
to me, then, that Deleuze went on to orient philosophy toward other problems, 
problems which are perhaps not specific to his work — or rather, he seems to have 
criticized classical philosophy — justifiably so — for not providing us with con- 
cepts sufficiently adaptable to science, or psychological analysis, or even historical 
analysis. This seems perfectly true to me, and in that respect, I can't praise him 
enough. However, what struck me was that all the examples he uses are not prop- 
erly philosophical examples. He spoke about the straight line, which is a 
mathematical example, about the egg, which is a physiological example, about 
genes, which is a biological example. When he arrived at the question of truth, 
then I said: OK, now we have a philosophical example. But it soon went astray, 
because Deleuze says we should ask: who wants the truth? why does one want 
the truth? only the jealous man?, etc. These are all certainly interesting questions, 
but they don't touch on the very essence of truth, and they are perhaps not strict- 
ly philosophical questions. They are questions turned instead toward problems 
that are psychological, psychoanalytic, etc. So, I myself would like to ask a sim- 
ple question. I understand that Mr. Deleuze criticizes philosophy for making the 
Idea a conception that is not adaptable, as he would like, to scientific, psycho- 
logical, and historical problems. But I think that alongside these problems there 
remain classical philosophical problems, namely problems having to do with 
essence. In any event, I don't believe, as Deleuze does, that the great philosophers 
have never posed such questions. 

Gilles Deleuze: It is certainly true that numerous philosophers have asked the ques- 
tion: What is this? But is this not, in their case, just a convenient way of talking? Kant 
indeed asks what is an object, but he asks this question within the framework of a 
more profound question, a how question, which took on new meaning: "How is this 
possible?" What seems most important to me is the new way in which Kant inter- 
prets the question houP. As for Leibniz, when he allows himself to ask what is this?, 
does he not get definitions which he himself labels nominal? But when he attains 
real definitions, is it not thanks to questions such as how? from what perspective? in 
which case? In Leibniz we find a whole topology, a whole casuistry, that finds expres- 
sion primarily in his interest in law. But in any event, I was too hasty. 

It's your other criticism that hits home more forcefully. Because I do believe 
in the specificity of philosophy, and furthermore, this belief of mine derives from 
you yourself. You say that the method I describe borrows its applications from all 



over, from different sciences, but hardly at all from philosophy. And that the only 
philosophical example I used, the problem of truth, went astray because it con- 
sisted in dissolving the concept of truth into psychological or psychoanalytic 
determinations. If this is the case, then I have failed. Because the Idea, as real- vir- 
tual, must not be described in uniquely scientific terms, even if science 
necessarily comes into play in its actualization. Even concepts such as singular 
and regular, or remarkable and ordinary, are not exhausted by mathematics. I 
want to call on Lautman's theses: a theory of systems must show how the move- 
ment of scientific concepts participates in a dialectic that surpasses them. Nor are 
dynamisms reducible to psychological determinations (and when I cited the jeal- 
ous man as the "type" of the seeker of truth, it was not as a psychological 
character, but as a complex of space and time, as a "figure" belonging to the very 
notion of truth). It seems to me not only that the theory of systems is philo- 
sophical, but that this theory forms a system of a very particular type — the 
philosophical system, with its own dynamisms, precursors, larval subjects, spe- 
cific to it. At any rate, it is on this condition alone that the dramatic method 
would make sense. 

Maurice de Gandillac:* Behind your suggestive and poetic vocabulary, I sense 
profound and solid thinking, as always, but I confess I would like additional clar- 
ification as to dramatization, which is in your title, and which you defined as 
though it were a well-known concept that needs little commentary. Usually when 
we use the word dramatic or dramatization, we use it in a pejorative sense to 
reproach someone for turning some minor incident into a theatrical production 
(like when we say: "Quit being so dramatic!"). Etymologically, a drama is an 
action but staged, stylized, presented before a public. But I have difficulty imag- 
ining a situation of this kind arising in connection with the fantasmic subjects 
you just spoke about: the embryos, larvae, undifferentiated differentiations 
which are also dynamic schemas, because the terms you chose are pretty vague, 
they're used to mean just about anything depending on the context. More pre- 
cisely, whereas you refuse the question ti (inasmuch as it concerns an ousia), you 
seem to accept tis as the subject of a doing or making (tis poiei ti). But can we 
really speak of a subject doing something at the larval level? 

My second question is about the relation between the dramatic and the 
tragic. Does the drama you have in mind, like tragedy, refer to an irresolvable 
conflict between two uneven halves, in a subtle disharmonious harmony? Your 
allusion to Artaud and his theatre of cruelty sufficiently demonstrates that you 
are not an optimistic philosopher, or if you are, it's in the way Leibiz is, whose 
vision of the world is, all things considered, one of the most cruel imaginable. 
Is your dramatization a Theodicy, this time situated not in the celestial palaces 
to which the famous apologists for Sextus alludes, but rather with the lemurs 
from the second Fausii 



Gilles Deleuze: I will try to define dramatization more rigorously: what I have in 
mind are dynamisms, dynamic spatio-temporal determinations, that are pre- 
qualitative and pre-extensive, taking "place" in intensive systems where 
differences are distributed at different depths, whose "patients" are larval subjects 
and whose "function" is to actualize Ideas... 

Maurice de Gandillac: But why do you use the term dramatization to translate 
all that (which I find a little obscure)? 

Gilles Deleuze: When you assign such a system of spatio-temporal determina- 
tion to a concept, in my view you're replacing a logos with a "drama," you're 
setting up the drama of this logos. For example, you used to say: we dramatize 
when we're with our family. It's true that everyday life is full of dramatizations. 
Some psychoanalysts use the word, I believe, to designate the movement by 
which logical thought is dissolved in pure spatio-temporal determinations, as in 
falling asleep. And this is not so far removed from the famous experiments of the 
Wurtzbourg school. Take the case of an obsessive compulsive, where the subject 
keeps shrinking: handkerchiefs and towels are perpetually cut, first in two, then 
the halves are cut again; the cord for the bell in the dining room is regularly 
shortened, and the bell gets closer to the ceiling; everything is gnawed at, minia- 
turized, put into boxes. This is indeed a drama, in the sense that the patient 
organizes a space, agitates it, while in this space he expresses an Idea of the 
unconscious. An angry fit is a dramatization that stages larval subjects. You asked 
me whether dramatization in general is related to the tragic. I don't see there 
being any privileged relation between them. The tragic and the comic are still 
categories of representation, whereas there is a more fundamental relation 
between dramatization and a certain mode of terror, which can entail a maxi- 
mum of clownishness as well as grotesque... You said yourself that the world of 
Leibniz, in the end, is the most cruel of all v/orlds. 

Maurice de Gandillac: Clownishness, the grotesque, and snickering all belong to 
the region of the tragic, I believe. Your conclusion alluded to Nietzschean 
themes, all told more Dionysian than Apollonian. 

Jean Wahl: I think Deleuze could have answered you with the question when?, 
because there are times when it all becomes tragic and there are times when it 

Gilles Deleuze: Indeed I could have. 

Michel Souriau: I'd like to ask for clarification as to a reference. Mr. Deleuze 
cited several philosophers, not many, but certain ones; I thought I may have 



detected a reference to Malebranche, though he wasn't cited. There are sever- 
al things in Malebranche that would be completely out of place in your work, 
for example, his vision in God: whereas for yourself it is more a question of a 
"vision in Mephistopheles." But we can't forget the Malebranche of intelligi- 
ble extension; when you refer to the at first obscure and in every case dynamic 
becoming of ideas, and then to this extension which is not quite space, but 
tends to become space, it really does sound like Malebranche's intelligible 

Gilles Deleuze: It didn't occur to me until now, but there is indeed a kind of 
pure, pre-extensive spatium in intelligible extension. The same goes for the dis- 
tinction Leibniz makes between spatium and extensio. 

Lucy Prenant: 1 " My question is along the same lines as Mr. Souriau's. What you 
call obscure and distinct, wouldn't Leibniz call it intelligible and un-imagin- 
able? Un-imaginable corresponds to obscure — to what you're calling the 
obscure. For Leibniz, the obscure is thought not being able to determine its 
object, as in the Meditationes, for example: a fleeting memory of an image. On 
the other hand, the knowledge that metal workers have of gold is converted 
into a law of a series of properties; this is not available for the senses, and it 
does not take the form of an image, and consequently, I think Leibniz would 
translate it as obscure, as opposed to clear. And this can even apply to what 
Leibniz called blind thought — not under just any conditions, because blind 
thought can lead to verbalism and error, as he points out in his critique of the 
ontological proof. But this can correspond to certain forms of blind thought; 
for example, to characteristics — to forms that are rigorously constructed. 

Precisely, however, must not these "distinct and blind" ideas of Leibniz be 
based on "distinct visions"? Leibniz sees that a straight line can be extended to 
infinity because he sees the reason: the similitude of the segments. Thus we 
have recourse to "primitive notions" which "are the proper marks of them- 
selves," to the alphabet of human thought. In other words, I don't believe that 
thought can remain fully "obscure," in Mr. Deleuze's sense of the word, 
throughout its course. Thought must at least "see a reason," grasp a law. 

Gilles Deleuze: I am struck by your remarks on the rigor of Leibniz's terminol- 
ogy. But is it not true, Ms. Prenant, that "distinct" has many senses in Leibniz? 
His texts on the sea emphasize that there are elements in perception, i.e. remark- 
able points, that in combination with other remarkable points of our body, 
determine a threshold of conscious perception. This conscious perception is clear 
and confused (non-distinct), but the differential elements that it actualizes are 
themselves distinct and obscure. It is true that we are dealing with a depth, which 
perhaps in a certain way exceeds sufficient reason itself... 



Lucy Prenant: Furthermore, when a simple substance "expresses" the universe, 
I don't think it always does so through an image; it is certainly expressed 
through some quality — conscious or not (at most partially conscious for the 
finite activity of a created substance), and this quality corresponds to a system 
of variable relations from some "point of view." God alone can reflect on the 
totality of these virtualities with perfect distinction — which for him eliminates 
any need for a calculus of probabilities... 

But I wanted to ask you a second question. Doesn't this virtuality that claims 
to correspond to existence not pose a problem for the researcher on the look-out 
for a tidy classification, who finds only "messy" examples, which then obligate 
her to readjust her species? In other words, is this virtuality anything other than 
a progressive and mobile expression? 

Gilles Deleuze: I don't think virtuality can ever correspond to the actual in the way 
essence does to an existence. This would be to confuse the virtual with the possible. 
In any event, the virtual and the actual correspond but do not resemble one anoth- 
er. This is why the search for actual concepts can be infinite, there is always an excess 
of virtual Ideas animating them. 

Jean Ullmo: 11 I am a little overwhelmed by such a purely philosophical expose, and 
I very much admired it, first for its form and its poetic value, but also for the feel- 
ing — but is it a feeling? — I had while listening to it, that despite my ignorance, 
philosophically speaking, and my naivete with respect to the concepts, methods, and 
references you used, I felt like I could follow you, or rather at every moment I could 
translate you into a more humble language, the language of epistemology, from 
which I have elaborated a scientific reflection which has been going on for a few 
years now and encompasses more than a few experiments. Of course, these two dis- 
ciplines do not exactly overlap, and from time to time I lost my footing. But thanks 
to the questions that were raised, now I understand why I lost my footing, since 
there were precise allusions to philosophical issues I am not familiar with. Having 
said that, I think everything you said can be translated into the language of modern 
epistemology, and I believe that the project you have undertaken — giving philo- 
sophical concepts a genetic and evolutive extension, the kind of internal 
differentiation that allows them to be adapted to the disciplines of science and his- 
tory, as well as biology, since we agree that the field of biology is more evolved than 
the physical sciences — I think this project is extremely interesting and that you have 
made tremendous progress. 

Georges Bouligand: 11 I would just like to comment on the "messy" examples that 
Ms. Prenant brought up. For the mathematician, such "messy" examples are always 
counter-examples. A researcher who, in good faith, examines a theme derives a 
prospective view from it, in conformity with such examples as "lead" him toward 



the desired "theorem." But a friend whom he meets soon puts this theorem to the 
test with a counter-example. Then our researcher undergoes this "psychological 
shock," which can be severe, but which is quickly dominated by evaluating as 
"strange" the case which was "practically" excluded from the start. This is a frequent 
phenomenon, too. This is what happens when you take a point h of a surface S — 
with a normal vertical for h — and try to justify a "minimum height" for h using this 
hypotheses: every vertical meets S in a single point; for every line of S obtained as 
the intersection of S and an arbitrary vertical plane containing the vertical of/i, the 
minimum would be produced for h. The return to a clear vision of things can be 
rather difficult: having started with more or less subjective impressions, we would 
have to rediscover full agreement with rigorous logic. 

Jacques Merleau-Ponty:" Several times you spoke about spatio-temporal 
dynamisms, which clearly have an important role to play, and I think I more or less 
understood what you meant by them in your talk. However, and this is certainly fea- 
sible, there may be reason to divide the spatial from the temporal in these 
dynamisms. A comparison of two images you used makes me think it could be 
important to clarify this point. You used the image of lightning; I don't know if you 
found it in Leibniz or if you found it all by yourself, it doesn't matter. But clearly, 
what we're dealing with in this case is what you call the intensive, and in particular, 
potential. We're dealing with an instantaneous dispersion that is purely spatial, such 
as the movement of charges, or sound waves, etc. Then you used the image of the 
embryo; in this case, however, the temporal aspect is clearly tied to the spatial aspect, 
since the differentiation is as rigorously controlled in time as it is in space. So I 
would like to know if you have any clarifications on this point, because this is what 
I'm thinking: I thought I detected, and this is no surprise, a certain echo of Bergson 
in your talk; precisely, however, the lightning bolt is not at all Bergsonian, because 
in Bergson there is never a rupture of time, or at least I don't see it that way. 

Gilles Deleuze: Your question is a good one. We would have to distinguish what 
belongs to space and what to time in these dynamisms, and in each case, the partic- 
ular space-time combination. Whenever an Idea is actualized, there is a space and a 
time of actualization. The combinations are clearly variable. On the one hand, if it is 
true that an Idea has two aspects, differential relations and singular points, the time 
of actualization relates to the first, whereas the space of actualization relates to the sec- 
ond. On the other hand, if we examine the two aspects of actualization, qualities and 
extensions, the qualities result for the most part from the time of actualization: what 
properly belongs to qualities is duration, lasting as long as an intensive system main- 
tains and communicates its constitutive differences. And the extensions, for their 
part, result from the space of actualization or from the movement by which these sin- 
gularities are incarnated. We see very well in biology how differential rhythms 
determine the organization of the body and its temporal specification. 



Jacques Merleau-Ponty: Regarding the same question, I'm thinking of an image 
you didn't use in your talk, the image of lineage. In the talk you gave on Proust 
a few years ago, you spoke about lineage, e.g. the two lineages that arise from the 
great hermaphrodite, etc. Wouldn't that image be suitable in your talk today? 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, dynamisms indeed determine "lineages." Today I spoke 
about abstract lines, and the depth from which these lines emerge. 

Jean Beaufret: 14 l would like to ask a question, but not concerning the talk itself. 
It's about the last answer Deleuze gave to Mr. de Gandillac. At the end of your 
exchange, Apollo and Dionysus were evoked, and everything was summed up: 
the opposition is insurmountable. Am I on track? 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, I believe so. 

Jean Beaufret: Then I would ask you this: by whom? how far? how? where? 
when? By whom can this opposition be overcome? I feel like... 

Gilles Deleuze: By whom could it be overcome? Certainly not by Dionysus, who 
has no reason to do so. Dionysus wants what is distinct to remain obscure. He 
sees no reason and no advantage in it. The idea of a reconciliation is unbearable 
to Dionysus. The clear and distinct is just as unbearable. He has taken on the dis- 
tinct and wants it to remain obscure. I suppose it's just his particular will... But 
who wants to overcome this opposition? I can tell that the dream of a reconcili- 
ation between the clear and the distinct can only be explained by the clear. 
Apollo wants to overcome this opposition. He elicits the reconciliation of the 
clear and distinct, and he inspires the artisan with this reconciliation: the tragic 
artist. Let me come back to the theme M. de Gandillac touched on a few 
moments ago. The tragic is the effort at reconciliation, which necessarily comes 
from Apollo. But in Dionysus there is always something that withdraws and 
turns away, something that wants to maintain the distinct obscure... 

Jean Beaufret: I think we've accepted the Apollo-Dionysus distinction a little too 
quickly, though the distinction is indeed sharply drawn in The Birth of Tragedy. 
More and more, however, I get the feeling there is a third character that shows up 
in Nietzsche, and which he tends to call Halcyon. I don't know what it does, but 
what strikes me is this Alkyonische, which is, as Nietzsche says, the sky of Nice, like 
a dimension that doesn't correspond to either the Apollonian or the Dionysian 
dimension. At the end of Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche discusses his encounter 
with Dionysus and says that the god replied with "his halcyon smile." I asked 
myself what this halcyon smile could mean. In any case, this is why I think Niet- 
zsche is more reticent than you have been. I think it's a late discovery. 



Gilles Deleuze: Certainly, the signification of Halcyon remains a real problem in 
Nietzsche's later work. 

Stanislas Breton:' 5 The question what is this? indeed hardly gets me anywhere 
in the discovery of the essence or the Idea. But it does seem to have an indis- 
pensable regulative function. It opens up a region of inquiry which only the 
heuristic questions who? how?, etc., are able to fill. Far from replacing the ques- 
tion what is this?, these other questions thus appear to require it. They form an 
indispensable mediation. It is in order to answer the question what is this? that 
I ask the other questions. The two types of questions are therefore heteroge- 
neous and complimentary. 

Furthermore, these other questions appear founded on a prior idea of the 
"thing," an idea that is already a response, in a global way, to the question what 
is this? They presuppose a "larval" subject that unfolds in an interval of actual- 
ization, which the spatio-temporal dynamisms make concrete. 

It follows that, by virtue of what has been called the conversion of substance 
into the subject, the essence is less what is already there than to ti ev einai (what 
is about to be). Hegel also speaks of a Bestimmtheit that becomes a Bestimmung. 
The determination of the thing would be the past of its "dramatization." Esse 
sequitur operari (rather than operari sequitur esse). Traditional ontology would 
thus be only an approximation of an onto-genius, whose center is the causa sui 
or the authupostaton that Proclus discusses. 

By situating your reflections within this ontological horizon, I'm not trying 
to diminish their implications or their importance. I want to understand them 
better. But there is nevertheless one question that comes first: what exactly is the 
application of your method? Within which horizon of reality exactly do you pose 
your "topical" questions quis? quomodo?, etc. Don't these questions only make 
sense in the world of mankind? Or can they be applied to the "things" of com- 
mon or scientific experience? Spatio-temporal dynamisms are objects of inquiry 
in dynamic psychology and microphysics. What relations of analogy are there 
between these very different spatio-temporal dynamisms? Can we imagine a 
process of differentiation that relates them? 

Gilles Deleuze: I'm not sure that the two kinds of questions can be reconciled. 
You say that the question what is this? precedes and directs the inquiry of the 
other questions. And that these other questions allow us to answer what is this? 
However, is there not every reason to fear that, if we begin with what is this?, we 
will never even get to the other questions. The question what is this? biases the 
results of the inquiry, it presupposes the answer as the simplicity of an essence, 
even if the essence is properly multiple, contradictory, etc. This is just abstract 
movement, and we will never be able to reconnect with real movement, that 
which traverses a multiplicity as such. In my view, the two kinds of questions 



imply irreconcilable methods. For example, when Nietzsche asks who, or from 
what perspective, instead of what, he is not trying to complete the question what 
is this! 1 , he is criticizing the form of this question and all its possible responses. 
When I ask what is this?, I assume there is an essence behind appearances, or at 
least something ultimate behind the masks. The other kind of question, howev- 
er, always discovers other masks behind the mask, displacements behind every 
place, other "cases" stacked up in a case. 

You indicate the profound presence of a temporal operation in to ti en enai. 
But it seems to me that this operation in Aristotle does not depend on the ques- 
tion what is this?, but rather on the question who?, which Aristotle uses to express 
his anti-Platonism: to ti a, or "who is" (or rather, "who, being"). 

And you would like to know what is the scope of this dramatization. Is it 
exclusively psychological or anthropological? I don't see it as privileging mankind 
in any way. In any event, what is dramatized is the unconscious. All kinds of rep- 
etitions and resonances intervene among physical, biological, and psychic 
dynamisms. Perhaps the differences between dynamisms primarily derives from 
the order of the Idea being actualized. The various orders of Ideas would have to 
be determined. 

Alexis Philonenko: 16 1 would like a clarification from Mr. Deleuze. You affirmed 
that in the movement of actualization, the differential elements had no sensible 
figure, no function, no conceptual signification (which seems totally anti-Leib- 
niz, so to speak, since Leibniz assigns a conceptual signification to the differential 
precisely because the differential has no "figure;" but that's not my question). To 
introduce your thesis, you alluded to the post-Kantians. For me, that implied not 
only a reference to Hegel, but also to Mai'mon, Fichte, Schelling, even Schopen- 
hauer. Maybe even Nietzsche, if you like... I would like you to clarify which 
post-Kantians in particular you had in mind. 

Gilles Deleuze: You're asking me who I had in mind: obviously Mai'mon and cer- 
tain aspects of Novalis. 

Alexis Philonenko: And you were thinking of the differential of consciousness? 

Gilles Deleuze: That's right... 

Alexis Philonenko: Well, parts of your talk seemed inspired by the work of 
Mai'mon. This clarification is important because the notion of the differential 
of consciousness in Mai'mon is crucial, and in many respects, the spatio-tem- 
poral dynamisms you described are remarkably reminiscent of Mai'mon's 
differential of consciousness. Let me explain. At the level of representation we 
have something like integrations; but there is a sub-representative level, as you 



yourself tried to show, and at this level the differential has a genetic significa- 
tion, at least in Mai'mon's view. I was asking for clarification to set up the 
discussion. What, to my way of thinking, is so interesting is that for Ma'i'mon, 
the notion of the differential, which is associated with the transcendental imagina- 
tion, is a skeptical principle, a principle which leads us to judge the real as 
illusory. Insofar as the root of spatio-temporal dynamisms is sub-representa- 
tional, we have according to Ma'imon, no criterion. And this means two things: 
in the first place, we cannot discern what we produce and what the object pro- 
duces; in the second place, we cannot discern what is produced logically and 
what is not. All there remains is the results of the sub-representational genesis 
of the transcendental imagination. So, according to Maimon, a dialectic of the 
transcendental imagination must be developed, or if you prefer, a dialectic of 
synthesis. This could be associated with Leibniz, but just a little. So this is what 
I want to know: what part does illusion (or the illusory) have in the movement 
of differential elements? 

Gilles Deleuze: For me, none. 

Alexis Philonenko: And what allows you to say that? 

Gilles Deleuze: You say to me: for Maimon there is an illusion. I follow you, but 
I wasn't trying to explicate Maimon. If what you're trying to ask me is: what part 
does illusion have in the schema you're proposing? My answer is: none. It seems 
to me we have the means to penetrate the sub-representational, to reach all the 
way to the roots of spatio-temporal dynamisms, and all the way to the Ideas actu- 
alized in them: the elements and ideal events, the relations and singularities are 
perfectly determinable. The illusion only comes afterward, from the direction of 
constituted extensions and the qualities that fill out these extensions. 

Alexis Philonenko: So illusion appears only in what is constituted? 

Gilles Deleuze: That's right. To sum things up, I don't have the same conception 
of the unconscious as Leibniz or Maimon. Freud already went down that road. 
So illusion has been displaced... 

Alexis Philonenko: Well, I mean to stay on the level of logic and even tran- 
scendental logic, without getting into psychology — but if you push illusion 
over to the side of what is constituted, without accepting illusion in genesis, in 
constitution, are you not in the end just coming back to Plato (when in fact 
you would like to avoid such a thing), for whom precisely constitution, under- 
stood as proceeding from the Idea, in as much as it can be understood, is 
always veracious, truthful? 



Gilles Deleuze: Yes, maybe. 

Alexis Philonenko: So, as far as specification and multiplicity are concerned, 
we would experience the same truth as Plato, and we would have the same idea 
of the true, i.e. the simplicity of the true always equal to itself in the totality of 
its production? 

Gilles Deleuze: That's not the Plato I have in mind. If we think of the Plato 
from the later dialectic, where the Ideas are something like multiplicities that 
must be traversed by questions such as how? how much? in which case?, then yes, 
everything I've said has something Platonic about it. If you're thinking of the 
Plato who favors a simplicity of the essence or a ipseity of the Idea, then no. 

Jean Wahl: If no one else wants to ask a question, then I will conclude by 
thanking Mr. Deleuze and all those who participated in the discussion. 


Conclusions on the Will to Power 
and the Eternal Return 1 

If we were to take away only one lesson from this colloquium, 2 it would be how 
many things in Nietzsche are hidden, masked. And this for several reasons. 

First for reasons concerning the editions of Nietzsche's work. It's not so 
much a question of falsifications: his sister was indeed one of those abusive rel- 
atives that figure in the procession of cursed thinkers, but her principal faults 
did not consist in falsifying texts. The extent editions suffer more from bad 
readings or displacements, and especially arbitrary selections taken from the 
mass of posthumous notes. The Will to Power is the most famous example. We 
can further say that none of the extent editions, even the most recent, meet 
normal scientific and critical demands. This is why the project by Mr. Colli 
and Mr. Montinari is in my opinion so important: the complete posthumous 
notes will at last be edited, observing the most rigorous chronology possible, 
according to the periods corresponding to the books Nietzsche published. The 
succession of one mode of thinking for 1872 and another for 1884 will thus 
come to an end. Mr. Colli and Mr. Montinari were gracious enough to update 
us on the progress of their work and its imminent completion; and I am happy 
to announce that their edition will also appear in French. 

But things are hidden in Nietzsche for still other reasons — of a patholog- 
ical nature. His work is unfinished, interrupted by madness. We must not 
forget that the Eternal Return and the Will to Power, the two most funda- 
mental concepts in the Nietzschean corpus, are hardly introduced at all. They 
never did receive the extended treatment Nietzsche intended. In particular, 
you will recall that Zarathoustra cannot be said to have articulated or formu- 
lated the eternal return, which is on the contrary hidden in the four books of 
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None. What little is articulated in 
Thus Spoke Zarathustra is not formulated by Zarathoustra himself, but either 
by the "dwarf" or by the eagle and the serpent/ This is a simple introduction, 



which can even entail voluntary disguises. And Nietzsche's notes, in this case, 
do not permit us to anticipate how he would have organized any future essays 
concerning it. We have every right to believe that madness brutally interrupt- 
ed Nietzsche's work before he was able to write what seemed to him most 
fundamental. — In what sense madness belongs to the work is a complex ques- 
tion. For my part, I don't see the least madness in Ecce Homo, unless one sees 
also great mastery in it. I feel that the mad letters of 1888 and 1889 do belong 
to the work, even while they interrupt it and cause its termination (the great 
letter to Burkhardt is in any case unforgettable). 

Mr. Klossowski said that the death of God, the dead God, deprives the 
Self of its only guarantee of identity, its substantial basis of unity: with God 
dead, the self dissolves or evaporates, but in a certain way, opens itself up to 
all the other selves, roles, and characters which must be run through in a series 
like so many fortuitous events. "I am Chambige, 1 am Badinguet, I am Prado, 
I am essentially every name in history." Mr. Wahl had already given us a pic- 
ture of this brilliant wastefulness prior to Nietzsche's sickness — this power of 
metamorphosis at the heart of Nietzsche's pluralism. Indeed Nietzsche's whole 
psychology, not only his personal psychology but also the one he is inventing, 
is a psychology of the mask, a typology of masks; and behind every mask there 
lies still another mask. 

But the most general reason why there are so many hidden things in Niet- 
zsche and his work is methodological in nature. A thing never has only one 
sense. Each thing has several senses that express the forces and the becoming 
of forces at work in it. Still more to the point, there is no "thing," but only 
interpretations hidden in one another, like masks layered one on the other, or 
languages that include each other. As Mr. Foucault has shown us, Nietzsche 
invents a new conception and new methods of interpretation: first by chang- 
ing the space in which signs are distributed, by discovering a new "depth" in 
relation to which the old depth flattens out and is no longer anything; second, 
and most importantly, by replacing the simple relation of sign and sense with 
a complex of senses, such that every interpretation is already the interpreta- 
tion of an interpretation ad infinitum. Not that every interpretation therefore 
has the same value and occupies the same plane — on the contrary, they are 
stacked or layered in the new depth. But they no longer have the true and the 
false as criteria. The noble and the vile, the high and the low, become the 
immanent principles of interpretations and evaluations. Logic is replaced by a 
topology and a typology: there are some interpretations that presuppose a base 
or vile way of thinking, feeling, and even existing, and there are others that 
exhibit nobility, generosity, creativity..., such that interpretations say some- 
thing about the "type" of interpreter, and renounce the question "what is it?" 
in favor of "who is it?" 



This is how the notion of value allows the truth to be "stamped out," so 
to speak, and a more profound force to be discovered behind the true and the 
false. Does this notion of value commit Nietzsche to a Platonic-Cartesian 
metaphysics, or does it open up a new philosophy, even a new ontology? This 
second theme of our colloquium is the problem that Mr. Beaufret tackled. 
The question is this: if everything is a mask, if everything is interpretation and 
evaluation, is there some ultimate court of appeal, since there are no things to 
interpret or evaluate, no things to mask? Ultimately, there is nothing except 
the will to power, which is the power to metamorphose, to shape masks, to 
interpret and evaluate. Mr. Vattimo showed us one approach: he argued that 
the two principle aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy, the critique of all current 
values and the creation of new values, demystification and transvaluation, 
could not be understood and would amount to nothing but simple preposi- 
tional states of consciousness, should we fail to refer these two aspects to an 
original, ontological depth — "a cave behind every cave," "an abyss under every 
ocean floor." 

This original depth, Zarathoustra's celebrated height-depth, must be named 
the will to power. Of course, Mr. Birault figured out how we must understand 
the term "will to power." It's not wanting to live, because how could whatever life 
is want to live? It's not a desire for domination either, because how could what- 
ever it is that dominates desire to dominate? Zarathoustra says: "The desire to 
dominate: now who would call that a desire?" The will to power, then, is not a 
will that wants power or wants to dominate. 

Such an interpretation would indeed have two disadvantages. If the will to 
power meant wanting power, it would clearly depend on long established val- 
ues, such as honor, money, or social influence, since these values determine the 
attribution and recognition of power as an object of desire and will. And this 
power which the will desired could be obtained only by throwing itself into the 
struggle or fight. More to the point, we ask: who wants such power? who wants 
to dominate? Precisely those whom Nietzsche calls slaves and the weak. Want- 
ing power is the image of the will to power which the impotent invent for 
themselves. Nietzsche always saw in struggle, in fighting, a means of selection 
that worked in reverse, turning to the advantage of slaves and herds. This is one 
of Nietzsche's great observations: "The strong must be defended just like the 
weak." Certainly, in the desire to dominate, in the image of the will to power 
which the impotent invent for themselves, we discover a will to power: but at 
its lowest level. The will to power has its highest level in an intense or inten- 
sive form, which is neither coveting nor taking, but giving, creating. Its true 
name, says Zarathoustra, is the virtue that gives. 4 And the mask is the most 
beautiful gift, showing the will to power as a plastic force, as the highest power 
of art. Power is not what the will wants, but that which wants in will, that is 
to say, Dionysos. 



This is why, as Mr. Birault remarked, Nietzsche's perspectivism changes 
everything, depending whether you look at things from above or from below. 
From above, the will to power is affirmation, an affirmation of difference, play, 
pleasure and gift, the creation of difference. But from below, everything is 
reversed. Affirmation is reflected into negation, and difference into opposition; 
it is only things-from-below that originally need to oppose whatever they are 
not. Mr. Birault and Mr. Foucault agree on this point. Mr. Foucault showed us 
that good movements, in Nietzsche, originate from above, beginning with the 
movement of interpretation. Whatever is good, whatever is noble, participates 
in the eagle's flight: hovering and descent. And the depths are interpreted only 
when they are excavated, in other words, traversed, turned upside down, and 
repossessed by a movement which comes from above. 

This leads us to the third theme of the colloquium, which often came up 
in our discussions, concerning the relation of affirmation and negation in Niet- 
zsche's work. Mr. Lowith, in a masterful presentation whose repercussions 
echoed throughout our colloquium, analyzed the nature of nihilism and 
showed how going beyond nihilism leads Nietzsche to a real recuperation of 
the world, a new alliance, an affirmation of the earth and body. This idea of 
the "recuperation of the world" sums up Mr. Lowith's interpretation of Niet- 
zsche. He relied in particular on a text from The Gay Science: "Suppress your 
venerations, or else suppress yourselves!" 5 And I think we were all impressed by 
Mr. Gabriel Marcel, when he evoked the same text to clarify his own position 
with respect to nihilism, to Nietzsche, and eventual disciples of Nietzsche. 

Indeed, the respective role of Yes and No, of affirmation and negation, in 
Nietzsche's work raises many problems. In Mr. Wahl's opinion, and as he 
demonstrated, there are so many significations of Yes and No, they coexist only 
at the cost of tensions, lived contradictions, contradictions in thought, some of 
which are unthinkable. And Mr. Wahl multiplied question on question, beau- 
tifully wielding the method of perspectives which he takes from Nietzsche, and 
which he knows how to make new. 

Let's take an example. There is no doubt that the Mule in Zarathoustra is 
an animal that says Yes, I-A, I-A. But his Yes is not the Yes of Zarathoustra. Not 
to mention the Mule's No, which is not like Zarathoustra's either. This is 
because when the Mule says Yes, when he affirms or believes he is affirming, he 
does nothing but shoulder a burden; he measures the value of his affirmations 
by the burden he bears. As Mr. Gueroult reminded us at the start of this col- 
loquium, the Mule (or the Camel) bears first the values of Christianity; then, 
when God is dead, he bears the burden of humanist values — human, all too 
human; and finally the burden of the real, when there are no longer any values 
at all. We here recognize the three stages of Nietzschean nihilism: God, 
humanity, and the last human — the burden we ourselves hoist on our own 
shoulders, and when we have nothing else to bear, the burden of our own 



fatigue. 6 Hence the Mule in fact says No, because he says Yes to all the prod- 
ucts of nihilism, even as he exhausts each of its stages. Consequently, 
affirmation here is only the phantom of affirmation; the negative is the only 

Zarathoustra's Yes is quite different. Zarathoustra knows that affirmation 
does not mean shouldering a burden. Only the clown, the monkey of 
Zarathoustra has himself carried. On the contrary, Zarathoustra knows that 
affirmation means unburdening life, making it light, dancing and creating." 
That's why for Zarathoustra affirmation comes first, whereas negation is only 
a consequence that serves affirmation, like a surplus of pleasure. Nietzsche- 
Zarathoustra contrasts his small, round, labyrinthine ears with the Mule's long, 
pointed ears: Zarathoustra's Yes is indeed the affirmation of the dancer, where- 
as the Mule's Yes is the affirmation of the beast of burden; Zarathoustra's No is 
pure aggression, whereas the Mule's No is merely resentment. Zarathoustra's 
movement, coming from above, thus brings us back to the legitimacy of a 
Nietzchean typology, and even topology. The Mule's movement reverses the 
depth, inverting the Yes and the No. 

But only the fourth theme of our colloquium could address the funda- 
mental sense which the Dionysian Yes discovers in the eternal return. Once 
again, there were many questions put forward. In the first place: How does one 
explain that the eternal return is an ancient idea, dating from the pre-Socrat- 
ics, and yet Nietzsche's great innovation, or what he presents as his own 
discovery? And how does one explain that there is something new in the idea 
that nothing is new? The eternal return is most certainly not the negation or 
suppression of time, an atemporal eternity. But how does one explain that it is 
both cycle and moment: on the one hand continuation; and on the other, iter- 
ation? On the one hand, a continuation of the process of becoming which is 
the World; and on the other, repetition, lightning flash, a mystical view on this 
process or this becoming? On the one hand, the continual rebeginning of what 
has been; and on the other, the instantaneous return to a kind of intense focal 
point, to a "zero" moment of the will? And in the second place: How does one 
explain that the eternal return is the most devastating thought, eliciting the 
"Greatest Disgust," and yet is the greatest consolation, the great thought of 
convalescence, which provokes the super-human? All these problems were con- 
stantly present in our discussions; and little by little, divisions and distinctions 
made themselves felt. 

At least one thing is clear: the eternal return, as the ancients understood it, 
does not have either the simplicity or the dogmatism often attributed to it; it 
is in no way a constant of the archaic psychology. On this point, we were 
reminded that the eternal return in ancient thought was never pure, but always 
accompanied by other themes such as the transmigration of souls. Nor was it 



conceived in a uniform way, but depending on the civilization and the school, 
it could be conceived in any number of ways. Also, the return was perhaps not 
total or eternal, consisting rather in partial cycles that were incommensurate. 
Strictly speaking, we cannot even categorically affirm that the eternal return was 
an ancient doctrine; and the theme of the Great Year is sufficiently complex for 
us to be cautious in our interpretations. 8 Nietzsche knew this, unwilling as he was 
to acknowledge any precursors here, neither Heraclitus, nor the venerable 
Zoroaster. Even if we do suppose that an eternal return was explicitly professed 
by the Ancients, we must then recognize that it is either a "qualitative" or an 
"extensive" eternal return. In other words, either it is the cyclical transformation 
of qualitative elements, each in the other, that determines the return of each 
thing, including celestial bodies. Or on the other hand, it is the local circular 
movement of qualities and things in the sublunar world. We here vacillate 
between a physical and an astronomical interpretation. 

But neither the one nor the other corresponds to Nietzsche's thought. And 
if Nietzsche considers his thought so absolutely new, it is certainly not due to 
any lack of familiarity with the Ancients. He knows that what he calls the eter- 
nal return is taking us into a dimension as yet unexplored: neither extensive 
quantity nor local movement, nor physical quality, but a domain of pure inten- 
sities. Mr. de Schloezer made a rather important observation: there is indeed 
an assignable difference between one time and a hundred or a thousand times, 
but not between one time and an infinite number of times. This implies that 
infinity is in this case like the "nth" power of 1, or like that developed intensi- 
ty which corresponds to 1, Mr. Beaufret, moreover, asked a fundamental 
question: is Being a predicate? Is it not something more and something less, 
and is it not itself above all a more and a less? This more and this less, which 
must be understood as a difference of intensity in being, and of being, as a dif- 
ference of levels, is one of the fundamental problems Nietzsche is working on. 
Nietzsche's taste for the physical sciences and energetics has occasioned much 
surprise. In fact, Nietzsche was interested in physics as a science of intensive 
quantities, and ultimately he was aiming at the will to power as an "intensive" 
principle, as a principle of pure intensity — because the will to power does not 
mean wanting power; on the contrary, whatever one desires, it means raising 
this to its ultimate power, to the nth power. In a word, it means extracting the 
superior form of everything that is (the form of intensity). 

It is in this sense that Mr. Klossowski wanted to show us a world of 
intense fluctuations in the Will to power, where identities are lost, and where 
each one cannot want itself without wanting all the other possibilities, with- 
out becoming innumerable "others," without apprehending itself as a 
fortuitous moment, whose very chance implies the necessity of the whole 
series. In Mr. Klossowski's formulation, it is a world of signs and sense; the 
signs are established in a difference of intensity, and become "sense" insofar as 



they aim at other differences included in the first difference, coming back at 
themselves through these others. It is Mr. Klossowski's particular strength to 
have uncovered the link that exists in Nietzsche between the death of God and 
the dissolution of the self, the loss of personal identity. God is the only guar- 
antee of the self: the first cannot perish without the second evaporating. And 
the will to power follows from this, as the principle of these fluctuations or 
intensities that interpenetrate and flow into one another. And the eternal 
return also follows from this, as the principle of these fluctuations or intensi- 
ties that come back and flow back through all their modifications. In short, 
the world of the eternal return is a world of differences, an intensive world, 
which presupposes neither the One nor the Same, but whose edifice is built 
both on the tomb of the one God and on the ruins of the identical self. The 
eternal return is itself the only unity of this world, which has none at all 
except as it comes back; it is the only identity of a world which has no "same" 
at all except through repetition. 

In the texts which Nietzsche published, the eternal return does not figure 
as the object of any formal or "definitive" essay. It is only announced, intimat- 
ed, in horror or ecstasy. And if we examine the two principal texts from Thus 
Spoke Zarathustra that deal with it, "On the Vision and the Riddle" and "The 
Convalescent," we see how the announcement, the intimation is always per- 
formed under dramatic conditions, but expresses nothing of the profound 
content of this "supreme thought." In one case in particular, Zarathoustra chal- 
lenges the Dwarf, the Clown — his proper caricature. But what Zarathoustra 
says about the eternal return is already enough to make him sick, giving rise to 
the unbearable vision of an uncoiled serpent slithering from the mouth of a 
shepherd, as though the eternal return undid itself to the extent Zarathoustra 
spoke of it. And in the second text, the eternal return is the object of a con- 
versation among animals, the eagle and the serpent. Zarathoustra says nothing 
this time, and their conversation is enough to put the convalescent Zarathous- 
tra to sleep. But he had just enough time to tell them: "You've already turned 
it into the same old song!" You've turned the eternal return into "the same old 
song," that is to say, a mechanical or natural repetition, when in fact it is some- 
thing else entirely... (Similarly, in the first text, responding to the Dwarf who 
had said "All truth is slanted, time itself is a circle," Zarathoustra said: "You 
blockhead, don't oversimplify things so much.") 

We have every right to believe that Nietzsche in his published works had 
only prepared the revelation of the eternal return, but that he did not reveal it, 
indeed did not have the time to do so. Everything suggests that his projected 
work, on the eve of the crisis of 1888, would have gone much farther in this 
direction. But already the texts from Thus Spoke Zarathustra on the one hand, 
and the notes from 1881-1882 on the other, at least tell us what the eternal 
return is not according to Nietzsche. It is not a cycle. It does not presuppose 



the One, the Same, the Equal or equilibrium. It is not the return of All. It is 
not the return of the Same. It thus has nothing in common with what is pre- 
sumed to be ancient doctrine, the idea of a cycle that causes everything to come 
back, passing through a point of equilibrium, bringing the All back to the One, 
amounting to the Same. There you have "the same old song" or the "over-sim- 
plification": the eternal return as a physical transformation or an astronomical 
movement — the eternal return lived as though it were a natural animal cer- 
tainty (such as the Clown or as Zarathoustra's animal sees it). We are all too 
familiar with the critique that Nietzsche, in all his work, brings to bear on the 
general notions of One, Same, Equal, and All. Still more to the point, the notes 
from 1881-1882 explicitly oppose the cyclical hypothesis; they exclude the 
presupposition of any state of equilibrium. These notes proclaim that All does 
not come back, because the eternal return is essentially selective, indeed selec- 
tive par excellence. Furthermore, what happened in Zarathoustra's two 
moments, between the time when he was sick and when he was recovering? 
Why did the eternal return first inspire him with unbearable disgust and fear, 
which then disappear when he feels better? Are we to believe that Zarathous- 
tra takes it on himself to shoulder what he could not bear a moment before? 
Obviously not; the change is not simply psychological. It's a "dramatic" pro- 
gression in the very comprehension of the eternal return. What sickened 
Zarathoustra was the idea that the eternal return was in the end, in spite of 
everything, linked to a cycle; that it would cause everything to come back; that 
everything would come back, even humanity, "little humanity"... "The great 
disgust for the Human is what suffocated me and got stuck in my throat, and 
also what the seer predicted: All is equal... And the eternal return, of even the 
littlest thing, was the cause of my lassitude with all of existence."" If Zarathous- 
tra feels better, it's because he understands that the eternal return is not that at 
all. He finally understands the unequal and the selection in the eternal return. 

Essentially, the unequal, the different is the true rationale for the eternal 
return. It is because nothing is equal, or the same, that "it" comes back. In 
other words, the eternal return is predicated only of becoming and the multi- 
ple. It is the law of a world without being, without unity, without identity. Far 
from presupposing the One or the Same, the eternal return constitutes the only 
unity of the multiple as such, the only identity of what differs: coming back is 
the only "being" ofbecoming. Consequently, the function of the eternal return 
as Being is never to identify, but to authenticate. This explains why, each in his 
own way, Mr. Lowith, Wahl and Klossowski alluded to the selective significa- 
tion of the eternal return. 

This signification is double. First, the eternal return is selective of thought, 
because it eliminates "half-desires." A rule that is valid beyond good and evil. 
The eternal return gives us a parody of the Kantian imperative. Whatever you 
will, will it in such a way that you also will its eternal return.. .What falls away, 



what is annihilated as a result, is everything I feel, do or desire provided that it 
happen "once, only once." Imagine laziness that willed its eternal return and 
stopped saying: "tomorrow I will get to work" — or cowardice, or abjection that 
willed its eternal return: clearly, we would find ourselves faced with forms as 
yet unknown and unexplored. These would no longer be what we usually call 
laziness or cowardice. And the fact that we have no idea of what they would be 
means only that extreme forms do not preexist the ordeal of the eternal return. 
The eternal return is indeed the category of the ordeal, and we must under- 
stand, as such, of events, of everything that happens. Misfortune, sickness, 
madness, even the approach of death have two aspects: in one sense, they sep- 
arate me from my power; in another sense, they endow me with a strange 
power, as though I possessed a dangerous means of exploration, which is also 
a terrifying realm to explore. The function of the eternal return, in every case, 
is to separate the superior from the moderate means, the torrid or glacial zones 
from the temperate ones, the extreme powers from the middle states. The 
words "separate" or "extract" are not even adequate, since the eternal return 
creates the superior forms. It is in this sense that the eternal return is the instru- 
ment and the expression of the will to power: it raises each thing to its superior 
form, that is, its nth power. 

This creative selection does not happen only in the thought of the eternal 
return. It happens in being: being is selective, being is selection. There is no 
way to believe that the eternal return causes everything to come back, and 
back to the same, since it eliminates everything that cannot withstand the 
ordeal: not only the "half-desires" in thought, but the half-powers in being. 
"Little humanity" will not come back. ..nothing that denies the eternal return 
will be able to come back. If we insist on thinking of the eternal return as the 
movement of a wheel, we must nevertheless endow it with a centrifugal move- 
ment, by means of which it expulses everything which is too weak, too 
moderate, to withstand the ordeal. What the eternal return produces, and 
causes to come back in correspondence with the will to power, is the Super- 
man, defined as "the superior form of everything that is. " The superman very 
much resembles the poet as Rimbaud defines it: one who is "loaded with 
humanity, even with animals," and who in every case has retained only the 
superior form, and the extreme power. Everywhere, the eternal return under- 
takes to authenticate: not to identify the same, but to authenticate desires, 
masks and roles, forms and powers. 

Mr. Birault was therefore right to remind us that according to Nietzsche, 
there is a difference of nature between extreme and middle forms. The same 
goes for the Nietzschean distinction between the creation of values and the 
recognition of current values. This distinction would make no sense if we 
interpreted it from the perspectives offered by historical relativism: those val- 



ues currently recognized would have been new values in their day; and the new 
values would have been called on in turn to become current. Such an inter- 
pretation would miss what is most essential. We already saw it in the will to 
power: there exists a difference of nature between "attributing current values to 
oneself" and "creating new values." This difference between them is the very 
difference of the eternal return, that which constitutes the essence of the eter- 
nal return: viz., "new" values are precisely those superior forms of everything 
that is. Some values, then, are born current and appear only by soliciting an 
order of recognition, even if they must await favorable historical conditions to 
be, in effect, recognized. On the other hand, some values are eternally new, for- 
ever untimely, always contemporary with their creation, and these, even when 
they seem established, apparently assimilated by a society, in fact address them- 
selves to other forces, soliciting from within that society anarchic forces of 
another nature. Such values alone are trans-historical, supra-historical, and 
bear witness to a congenial chaos, a creative disorder that is irreducible to any 
order whatsoever. It is this chaos of which Nietzsche spoke when he said it was 
not the contrary of the eternal return, but the eternal return in person. The 
great creations depart from this supra-historical stratum, this "untimely" chaos, 
at the extreme limit of what is livable. 

This is why Mr. Beaufret questioned the notion of value, asking himself to 
what extent value was apt to manifest this stratum without which there is no 
ontology. This is also why Mr. Vattimo underlined the existence of a chaotic 
depth in Nietzsche, without which the creation of values would lose their 
sense. But concrete examples had to be provided, we wanted to show how 
artists and thinkers come together in this dimension. Hence the fifth theme of 
our colloquium. Certainly, in this respect, when Nietzsche was confronted by 
other authors, he must have been influenced by some of them. But there was 
always something else at stake. So, when Mr. Foucault confronted Nietzsche 
with Freud and Marx, independently of any influence, he was careful not to 
choose a theme such as the commonly shared "recognition" of the unconscious 
by the three authors; on the contrary, he considered that the discovery of an 
unconscious depends on something more profound, on a fundamental change 
in interpretive demands, a change that itself implies a particular evaluation of 
the "madness" of the world and men. Mr. de Schloezer spoke of Nietzsche and 
Dostoievsky; Mr. Gaede, of French literature; Mr. Reichert, of German litera- 
ture and Hermann Hesse; Mr. Grlic, of art and poetry. What we saw in every 
case, regardless of any actual influence, was how one thinker could encounter 
another, meet up with another in a dimension that is no longer that of 
chronology or history (much less the dimension of eternity; Nietzsche would 
call it the dimension of the untimely). 

A special thanks to Mr. Goldbeck, and to Ms. de Sabran, who played the 
Manfred score, and to ORTF for letting us hear the melodies of Nietzsche; 



thanks to them we experienced an aspect of Nietzsche little known in France: 
Nietzsche-as-musician. In different ways, Mr. Goldbeck, Gabriel Marcel, and 
Boris de Schloezer explained to us what seemed moving or interesting in this 
music. And the question occurred to us: what sort of mask was "Nietzsche-as- 
musician"? I hope you won't mind me formulating one last hypothesis: 
Nietzsche is perhaps deeply theatrical. He not only wrote a philosophy of the- 
atre (Dionysos), he also brought theatre into philosophy itself. And with it, he 
brought new means of expression to transform philosophy. How many apho- 
risms must be understood as the principles and evaluations of a director*. 
Nietzsche conceives Zarathoustra completely in philosophy, but also com- 
pletely for the stage. He dreams of putting Zarathoustra to Bizet's music, as a 
form of derisive Wagnerian theatre. He dreams of a music, as he does of a 
mask, for "his own" philosophical theatre, which is already a theatre of cruel- 
ty, a theatre of the will to power and the eternal return. 


Nietzsche's Burst of Laughter 1 

[How was the new edition of Nietzsche's Complete Philosophical Works established?] 2 

Gilles Deleuze: The problem was to reclassify the posthumous notes — the Nach- 
lass — in accordance with the dates Nietzsche had written them, and to place 
them after the works with which they were contemporaneous. Some of them had 
been used in an abusive way after Nietzsche's death to compose The Will to 
Power. So it was essential to reestablish the exact chronology. This explains why 
the first volume, The Gay Science, is more than half composed of previously 
unpublished fragments dating from 1881-1882. Our conception of Nietzsche's 
thought as well as his creative process may be profoundly altered as a result. The 
new edition will appear simultaneously in Italy, Germany, and France. But we 
owe the texts to the work of two Italians, Colli and Montinari. 

Guy Dumur: How do you explain that Italians rather than Germans did the job? 

Gilles Deleuze: Maybe the Germans were not in a good position to do it. 
They already had numerous editions, which they were fond of, despite the 
arbitrary organization of the notes. Also, Nietzsche's manuscripts were in 
Weimar, East Germany — where the Italians were better received than any 
West German could have hoped to be. Finally, the Germans were undoubt- 
edly embarrassed at having accepted the edition of The Will to Power created 
by Nietzsche's sister. Elizabeth Forster-Nietzsche put together an extremely 
harmful work that privileges many Nazi interpretations. She didn't falsify the 
texts, but we know well enough that there are other ways to distort an author's 
thinking, even if it is merely an arbitrary selection from among his papers. 
Nietzschean concepts like those of "force" or "master" are complex enough to 
be betrayed by a selection such as hers. 



Guy Dumur: Will the translations be new? 

Gilles Deleuze: Completely new. This is especially important for those writings 
toward the end (there have been some poor readings, for which Elizabeth Niet- 
zsche and Peter Gast are responsible). The first two volumes to be published, 
The Gay Science and Human, All Too Human, have been translated by Pierre 
Klossowski and Robert Rovini. This doesn't mean that the prior translations by 
Henri Albert, and by Genevieve Bianquis, were bad — not at all. But if they 
were determined to publish Nietzsche's notes with his works, they had to begin 
from scratch and unify the terminology. On that note, interestingly enough, 
Nietzsche was first introduced in France not by the "right," but by Charles 
Andler and Henri Albert, who represented a whole socialist tradition with 
anarchical colorings. 

Guy Dumur: Do you think a "return to Nietzsche" is taking place in France 
today? And if so, why is it? 

Gilles Deleuze: It's difficult to say. Maybe there has been a change, or maybe the 
change is taking place now, with respect to the modes of thought which have 
been so familiar to us since the Liberation. We were used to thinking dialectical- 
ly, historically. Today it seems the tide has turned from dialectical thinking 
toward structuralism, for example, as well as other systems of thought. 

Foucault insists on the importance of the techniques of interpretation. It's 
possible that in the actual idea of interpretation is something which goes 
beyond the dialectical opposition between "knowing" and "transforming" the 
world. Freud is the great interpreter, so is Nietzsche, but in a different way. 
Nietzsche's idea is that things and actions are already interpretations. So to 
interpret is to interpret interpretations, and thus to change things, "to change 
life." What is clear for Nietzsche is that society cannot be an ultimate author- 
ity. The ultimate authority is creation, it is art: or rather, art represents the 
absence and the impossibility of an ultimate authority. From the very begin- 
ning of his work, Nietzsche posits that there exist ends "just a little higher" 
than those of the State, than those of society. He inserts his entire corpus in a 
dimension which is neither historical, even understood dialectically, nor eter- 
nal. What he calls this new dimension which operates both in time and 
against time is the untimely. It is in this that life as interpretation finds its 
source. Maybe the reason for the "return to Nietzsche" is a rediscovery of the 
untimely, that dimension which is distinct both from classical philosophy in 
its "timeless" enterprise and from dialectical philosophy in its understanding 
of history: a singular element of upheaval. 

Guy Dumur: Could we then say this is a return to individualism? 



Gilles Deleuze: Yes, but a bizarre individualism, in which modern conscious- 
ness undoubtedly recognizes itself to some degree. Because in Nietzsche, this 
individualism is accompanied by a lively critique of the notions of "self and 
"I." For Nietzsche there is a kind of dissolution of the self. The reaction 
against oppressive structures is no longer done, for him, in the name of a 
"self" or an "I." On the contrary, it is as though the "self and the "I" were 
accomplices of those structures. 

Must we say that the return to Nietzsche implies a kind of estheticism, a 
renunciation of politics, an "individualism" as depersonalized as it is depoliti- 
cized? Maybe not. Politics, too, is in the business of interpretation. The 
untimely, which we just discussed, is never reducible to the political-historical 
element. But it happens from time to time that, at certain great moments, they 
coincide. When people die of hunger in India, such a disaster is political-his- 
torical. But when the people struggle for their liberation, there is always a 
coincidence of poetic acts and historical events or political actions, the glori- 
ous incarnation of something sublime or untimely. Such great coincidences are 
Nasser's burst of laughter when he nationalized Suez, or Castro's gestures, and 
that other burst of laughter, Giap's television interview. Here we have some- 
thing that reminds us of Rimbaud's or Nietzsche's imperatives and which puts 
one over on Marx — an artistic joy that comes to coincide with historical strug- 
gle. There are creators in politics, and creative movements, that are poised for 
a moment in history. Hitler, on the contrary, lacked to a singular degree any 
Nietzschean element. Hitler is not Zarathoustra. Nor is Trujillo. They repre- 
sented what Nietzsche calls "the monkey of Zarathoustra." As Nietzsche said, 
if one wants to be "a master," it is not enough to come to power. More often 
than not it is the "slaves" who come to power, and who keep it, and who 
remain slaves while they keep it. 

The masters according to Nietzsche are the untimely, those who create, who 
destroy in order to create, not to preserve. Nietzsche says that under the huge 
earth-shattering events are tiny silent events, which he likens to the creation of 
new worlds: there once again you see the presence of the poetic under the his- 
torical. In France, for instance, there are no earth-shattering events right now. 
They are far away, and horrible, in Vietnam. But we still have tiny impercep- 
tible events, which maybe announce an exodus from today's desert. Maybe the 
return to Nietzsche is one of those "tiny events" and already a reinterpretation 
of the world. 


Mysticism and Masochism 1 

Madeleine Chapsal: How did you come to be interested in Sacher-Masoch? 

Gilles Deleuze: I always felt Masoch was a great novelist. I was struck by the 
injustice of reading so much Sade, but never Masoch: people make him out to 
be a pathetic, reverse Sade. 

Madeleine Chapsal: His work is hardly translated... 

Gilles Deleuze: No, no, it was very much translated toward the end of the nine- 
teenth-century and was well-known, but for political and folkloric reasons rather 
than sexual ones. His work is connected to the political and national movements 
of central Europe, to pan-Slavism. Masoch is as inseparable from the revolutions 
of '48 in the Austrian Empire, as Sade from the French Revolution. The types of 
sexual minorities that Masoch imagines refer in a rather complex way to the 
national minorities of the Austrian Empire — just as the libertine minorities in 
Sade refer to pre-Revolutionary lodges and sects. 

Madeleine Chapsal: When someone says Masoch, you say Sade... 

Gilles Deleuze: Necessarily, because I want to dissociate their pseudo-identity! 
There are values that belong specifically to Masoch, even if these were only on 
the level of literary technique. There are specifically masochistic processes inde- 
pendent of any reversal or turning by sadism. But, interestingly, the 
sado-masochistic unity goes without saying, whereas in my view they have entire- 
ly different esthetic and pathological mechanisms. Even Freud himself invents 
nothing new here: his genius set about inventing the passageways of transforma- 
tion from the one to the other, but never questioned the unity itself. In any event, 
perversion is the least studied domain in psychiatry: it's not a therapeutic concept. 



Madeleine Chapsal: How do you explain that it is not psychiatrists but writers, 
Sade and Masoch, who are the experts in the domain of perversion? 

Gilles Deleuze: Perhaps there are three different medical acts: symptomology, or 
the study of signs; etiology, or the search for causes; and therapeutics, or the 
search for and application of a treatment. Whereas etiology and therapeutics are 
integral parts of medicine, symptomology appeals to a kind of neutral point, a 
limit that is premedical or sub-medical, belonging as much to art as to medicine: 
it's all about drawing a "portrait." The work of art exhibits symptoms, as do the 
body or the soul, albeit in a very different way. In this sense, the artist or writer 
can be a great symptomologist, just like the best doctor: so it is with Sade or 

Madeleine Chapsal: Why only them? 

Gilles Deleuze: Not only them. There are of course others whose work hasn't 
yet been recognized as a creative symptomology, as in the case of Masoch. 
Samuel Beckett's work is an extraordinary portrait of symptoms: it's not just 
about identifying an illness, but about the world as symptom, and the artist as 

Madeleine Chapsal: Now that you mention it, we might say the same thing 
about Kafka's work or the work of Marguerite Duras... 

Gilles Deleuze: Absolutely. 

Madeleine Chapsal: Not to mention that Jacques Lacan expressed his apprecia- 
tion of The Ravishing ofLol Stein and told Marguerite Duras that he saw in it the 
exact, troubling description of particular manias found in the clinic... But cer- 
tainly that is not the case with the work of every writer. 

Gilles Deleuze: No, of course not. What properly belongs to Sade, Masoch and 
a few others (for example, Robbe-Grillet or Klossowski) is making the phantasm 
itself the object of their work, whereas usually it is only the origin of the work. 
What literary creation and the constitution of symptoms have in common is the 
phantasm. Masoch calls it "the figure" and in fact says "one must go beyond the 
living figure to the problem." If the phantasm for most writers is the source of 
the work, for those writers who interests me it is precisely the phantasm that is 
at stake in the work and has the last word, as if the whole work reflected its origin. 

Madeleine Chapsal: Do you think we may one day speak of kafkaism or beck- 
ettism the way we speak of sadism or masochism? 



Gilles Deleuze: I suppose so... But just like Sade and Masoch, these writers will 
not lose one bit of their esthetic "universality" for it. 

Madeleine Chapsal: How do you see the kind of work you did in your Presen- 
tation de Sacher-MasockP. What I mean is, what was your particular objective: 
literary criticism, psychiatry? 

Gilles Deleuze: What I would like to do (and this book would be only a pre- 
liminary study) is articulate a relation between literature and clinical psychology. 
There is an urgent need for clinical psychology to keep away from sweeping uni- 
ties accomplished through "reversals" and "transformations": the idea of a 
sado-masochism is simply a prejudice. (There is a sadism of the masochist, but 
this sadism is well within masochism and is not true sadism: the same goes for 
the masochism of the sadist). This prejudice results from hasty symptomology, 
such that we no longer attempt to see what is there, but seek instead to justify our 
prior idea. Freud himself experienced this difficulty, for example, in his 
admirable A Child is Being Beaten? and yet he still didn't seek to question the 
theme of sado-masochistic unity. So it does happen that a writer can go farther 
in symptomology, that the work of art gives him a new means — perhaps also 
because the writer is less concerned with causes. 

Madeleine Chapsal: Freud nonetheless respected the clinical genius of writers, 
often looking to literary works to confirm his psychoanalytic theories... 

Gilles Deleuze: Very much so, but he didn't do it for Sade or Masoch. All too 
often the writer is still considered as one more case added to clinical psychol- 
ogy, when the important thing is what the writer himself, as a creator, brings 
to clinical psychology. The difference between literature and clinical psycholo- 
gy, and this makes an illness not the same thing as a work of art, is the kind of 
work done on the phantasm. In each case, the source is the same: it's the phan- 
tasm. But from there the work is quite different, even incommensurate, 
between the work of the artist and the work of pathology. Very often the writer 
goes farther than the clinician and even the patient. Masoch, for example, is 
the first and only person to say and to show that the essence of masochism is 
the contract, a special contractual relation. 

Madeleine Chapsal: The only person? 

Gilles Deleuze: I've never seen this symptom — the need to establish a contract — 
counted as an element of masochism. In this instance, Masoch went farther than 
the clinicians, who afterwards failed to take account of his discovery. Masochism 
can be considered from three different points of view: 1) as an alliance between 



pleasure and pain, 2) as a way to act out humiliation and slavery, and 3) as slav- 
ery instituted within a contractual relation. This third characteristic is perhaps 
the most profound, and so it should account for the others. 

Madeleine Chapsal: You're not a psychoanalyst, you're a philosopher. Do you 
have reservations about venturing out on psychoanalytic terrain? 

Gilles Deleuze: Sure I do, it's a delicate matter. I would never have allowed 
myself to talk about psychoanalysis and psychiatry if this were not a question 
of symptomology Precisely, symptomology is located almost outside medicine, 
at a neutral point, a zero point, where artists and philosophers and doctors and 
patients can come together. 

Madeleine Chapsal: How did you settle on Venus in Furs for your book? 

Gilles Deleuze: Masoch has written three especially beautiful books: La Mere de 
Dieu, Pecheuse d'dmes, and Venus in Furs. I had to choose, and I thought the book 
best able to introduce someone to Masoch's work would be Venus, since its 
themes are purest and simplest. In the other two, mystical sects are mixed up 
with exercises that are properly masochist. But new editions of these works 
would be much welcomed. 3 

Madeleine Chapsal: One other thing concerning Masoch, something that you 
wrote in your previous work, Proust and Signs: you say that the essence of any 
great work of art is comic, and that it is a misreading to be satisfied with tragic 
first impressions. Specifically, on Kafka, you write: "This pseudo-sense of the trag- 
ic make us stupid. How many authors we deface by substituting a puerile, tragic 
feeling for the aggressive, comic power of the thought which animates their work. " 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, the essence of art is a kind of joy, and this is the very point 
of art. There can be no tragic work because there is a necessary joy in creation: 
art is necessarily a liberation that explodes everything, first and foremost the trag- 
ic. No, there is no unhappy creation, it is always a vis comica. Nietzsche said: "the 
tragic hero is happy." So is the masochist hero, in his own way, which is insepa- 
rable from Masoch's own literary techniques. 


On Nietzsche and the Image of 
Thought 1 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: Gallimard's reedition of Nietzsche's complete works has 
started to appear on the shelves. You and Foucault have been credited with 
"responsibility" for the first volume. 2 What exactly was your role? 

Gilles Deleuze: We played a small role. You are no doubt well aware that the 
whole point of this edition is to publish all posthumous notes, many of which 
have never seen the light of day, by distributing them chronologically in the 
order of the books that Nietzsche himself published. Accordingly, The Gay Sci- 
ence, translated by Klossowski, includes the posthumous notes of 1881-1882. 
The authors of this edition are, on the one hand, Colli and Montinari, to whom 
we are indebted for the texts, and on the other, the translators, for whom Niet- 
zsche's style and techniques have posed enormous problems. We were responsible 
only for grouping the texts in order. 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: In Nietzsche and Philosophy, you write that his project in the 
most general sense is to bring the concepts of sense and value into philosophy, 
and that "it goes without saying that modern philosophy has for the most part lived 
off and still lives off Nietzsche. " How should we interpret these declarations? 

Gilles Deleuze: They have to be understood in two ways: negatively as well as 

But first there is this fact: Nietzsche questions the concept of truth, he denies 
that the true can be an element of language. What he is contesting is the very 
notions of true and false. Not because he wants to "relativize" them like an otdi- 
nary skeptic. In their place he substitutes sense and value as rigorous notions: the 
sense of what one says, and the evaluation of the one saying it. You always get 
the truth you deserve according to the sense of what you say, and according to 



the values to which you give voice. This presupposes a radically new conception of 
thought and language, because sense and value, signification and evaluation, 
bring into play mechanisms of the unconscious. It thus goes without saying that 
Nietzsche leads philosophy and thought in general into a new element. What is 
more, this element implies not only new ways of thinking and "judging," but 
also new ways of writing, and maybe acting. 

In this respect, modern philosophy has been and is clearly Nietzschean, 
because it never tires of discussing sense and value. Of course, other very different 
and no less essential influences must be added here: the Marxist conception of 
value, the Freudian conception of sense — they turned everything upside down. But 
the fact that modern philosophy has found the source of its renewal in the Niet- 
zsche-Marx-Freud trinity is indeed rather ambiguous and equivocal. Because it can 
be interpreted positively as well as negatively. For example, after the war, philoso- 
phies of value were in vogue. Everyone was talking about values, and they wanted 
"axiology" to replace both ontology and the theory of knowledge.. .But it wasn't the 
least bit Nietzschean or Marxist in inspiration. On the contrary, no one talked 
about Nietzsche or Marx at all, no one knew them, and they didn't want to know 
them. What they made of "value" was a place to resurrect the most traditional, 
abstract spiritualism imaginable: they called on values in order to inspire a new 
conformity which they believed was better suited to the modern world, you know, 
the respect for values, etc. For Nietzsche, as well as for Marx, the notion of value is 
strictly inseparable 1) from a radical and total critique of society and the world 
(look at the theme of the "fetish" in Marx, or the theme of "idols" in Nietzsche), 
and 2) from a creation no less radical: Nietzsche's trans-valuation, and Marx's rev- 
olutionary action. So, in the post-war context, everyone was all for using a concept 
of value, but they had completely neutralized it; they had subtracted all critical or 
creative sense from it. What they made of it was an instrument of established val- 
ues. It was pure anti-Nietzsche — even worse, it was Nietzsche hijacked, 
annihilated, suppressed, it was Nietzsche brought back to Sunday mass. 

But such misappropriations cannot last for long, since there is something in 
the Nietzschean notion of value to explode all recognized, established values, 
something to create, in a state of permanent creation, new things that escape all 
recognition and every establishment. There you have a positive getting back to 
Nietzsche, how to philosophize with a hammer: never what is known, but a great 
destruction of the known, for the creation of the unknown. 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: If I follow you, you're saying that the notions of sense and 
value come to us from Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud, though they are always in 
danger of being hijacked by serving the rebirth of a spiritualism that they were 
supposed to destroy — and that they are once again finding their way back, com- 
ing into their own today by energizing works that are both critical and creative. 
So much for the notion of value, can the same thing be said of sense? 



Gilles Deleuze: Absolutely, even more so. The notion of sense can also be the 
refuge of a renascent spiritualism: what is sometimes called "hermeneutics" 
(interpretation) has taken up the slack of what was called "axiology" (evalua- 
tion) after the war. The Nietzschean or, in this case, Freudian notion of sense 
is just as much in danger of being misappropriated. You hear everyone talking 
about "sense": original sense, forgotten sense, erased sense, veiled sense, reem- 
ployed sense, etc. All the old mirages are just rebaptized under the category of 
sense; Essence is being revived, with all its sacred and religious values. In Niet- 
zsche and Freud, it's the exact opposite; the notion of sense is an instrument of 
absolute contestation, absolute critique, and also specific creation: sense is not 
a reservoir, not a principle or an origin, not even an end, it's an "effect," an 
eiiea produced, whose laws ofproduction must be uncovered. Look at the pref- 
ace which J. -P. Osier just did for the book by Feuerbach he translated: 3 Osier 
indeed distinguishes between these two conceptions of sense and has a real 
boundary, from the point of view of philosophy, pass between them. This is 
one of structuralism's essential ideas, unifying authors as different as Levi- 
Strauss, Lacan, Foucault, and Althusser: the idea of sense as an effect produced 
by a specific machinery, a physical, optic, sonorous effect, etc. (And this is not 
the same thing as an appearance.) Well, an aphorism by Nietzsche is a sense- 
producing machine, in that order specific to thought. Of course, there are 
other orders, other machineries — for example, those which Freud discovered, 
and others still that are political or practical in nature. But we must become 
machinists, "operators." 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: How would you define the problems of contemporary philosophy? 

Gilles Deleuze: Perhaps in the way I just described it, using the notions of sense 
and value. Many things are happening in philosophy right now, it's a confused 
and rich period. No one believes any more in the I, the Self, in characters or 
persons. This is quite clear in literature. But it goes even deeper: what I mean 
is, many people have spontaneously stopped thinking in terms of I and Self. 
For a long time philosophy offered you a particular alternative: God or man — 
or in philosophical jargon: infinite substance or the finite subject. None of that 
is very important any more: the death of God, the possibility of replacing God 
with humanity, all the God-Human permutations, etc. It's like Foucault said, 
we are no more human than God, the one dies with the other. Nor can we 
remain satisfied with the opposition between a pure universal and particularities 
enclosed within persons, individuals, or Selves. We can't let ourselves be satisfied 
with that, especially if the two terms are to be reconciled, or completed by one 
another. What we're uncovering right now, in my opinion, is a world packed 
with impersonal individuations, or even pre -individual singularities (that's what 
Nietzsche means when he says: "neither God nor man," it's anarchy triumphant). 



The new novelists talk of nothing else: they give voice to these non-petsonal 
individuations, these non-individual singularities. 

But most importantly, all this corresponds to something happening in the 
contemporary world. Individuation is no longer enclosed in a word. Singularity 
is no longer enclosed in an individual. This is really important, especially politi- 
cally; it's like the "fish dissolved in water"; it's the revolutionary struggle, the 
struggle for liberation... And in our wealthy societies, the many and various 
forms of non-integration, the different forms of refusal by young people today, 
are perhaps manifestations of it. You see, the forces of repression always need a 
Self that can be assigned, they need determinate individuals on which to exercise 
their power. When we become the least bit fluid, when we slip away from the 
assignable Self, when there is no longer any person on whom God can exercise 
his power or by whom He can be replaced, the police lose it. This is not theory. 
All the stuff going on as we speak is what matters. We can't dismiss the upheavals 
troubling the younger generation just by saying: oh, they'll grow out of it. It's dif- 
ficult, of course, sometimes worrisome, but it's also really joyful, because they're 
creating something, accompanied by the confusion and suffering that attends 
any practical creation, I think. 

Well then, philosophy, too, must create worlds of thought, a whole new con- 
ception of thought, of "what it means to think," and it must be adequate to what 
is happening around us. It must adopt as its own those revolutions going on else- 
where, in other domains, or those that are being prepared. Philosophy is 
inseparable from "critique." Only, there are two ways of going about it. On the 
one hand, you criticize "false applications": false morality, false knowledge, false 
religions, etc. This is how Kant, for instance, thinks of his famous "Critique": 
ideal knowledge, true morality, and faith come out perfectly intact. On the other 
hand, you have this other family of philosophers who subject true morality, true 
faith, and ideal knowledge to comprehensive criticism, in the pursuit of some- 
thing else, as a function of a new image of thought. As long as we're content with 
criticizing the "false," we're not bothering anyone (true critique is the criticism 
of true forms, not false contents. You don't criticize capitalism or imperialism by 
denouncing their "mistakes"). This other family of philosophers includes 
Lucretius, Spinoza, Nietzsche — an incredible lineage in philosophy, a broken 
line, explosive, totally volcanic. 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: You've written books on Hume, Nietzsche, Kant, Bergson, 
Proust, Masoch. Can you explain these successive choices, do they somehow con- 
verge? And don't you have a particular interest in Nietzsche? 

Gilles Deleuze: Oh yes, for reasons that I have been trying to explain: Nietzsche 
is not at all the inventor of the famous phrase "God is dead." On the contrary, 
he is the first to believe this phrase to have no importance whatsoever as long as 



the human occupies the place of God. Nietzsche was trying to uncover something 
that was neither God nor Human, trying to give voice to these impersonal indi- 
viduations and these pre-individual singularities. ..that's what he calls Dionysos, 
or also the super-man. It is his particular philosophical and literary genius to have 
found the techniques to give them voice. Nietzsche says of the super-man: it's the 
superior kind of everything that is, including animals — like Rimbaud says, "he is 

loaded with humanity, even animals '"Consequently, Nietzsche reinvents that 

total critique which is at the same time a creation, total positivity. 

The other books I've done for different reasons. Kant, for example, is the 
perfect incarnation of false critique: that's why*he fascinates me. But when you're 
facing such a work of genius, there's no point saying you disagree. First you have 
to know how to admire; you have to rediscover the problems he poses, his par- 
ticular machinery. It is through admiration that you will come to genuine 
critique. The mania of people today is not knowing how to admire anything: 
either they're "against," or they situate everything at their own level while they 
chit-chat and scrutinize. That's no way to go about it. You have to work your way 
back to those problems which an author of genius has posed, all the way back to 
that which he does not say in what he says, in order to extract something that 
still belongs to him, though you also turn it against him. You have to be inspired, 
visited by the geniuses you denounce. 

Jules Valles says that a revolutionary must first know how to admire and 
respect: this is an extraordinary remark, practically speaking. Look at cinema, 
for example. When Jerry Lewis or Tati "criticize" modern life, they don't have 
the complacency, the vulgarity to show us ugly things. What they criticize, they 
show as beautiful, as magnificent, they love what they criticize and give it a new 
beauty. Their critique is only the more forceful. In every modernity and every 
novelty, you find conformity and creativity; an insipid conformity, but also "a 
little new music"; something in conformity with the time, but also something 
untimely — separating the one from the other is the task of those who know 
how to love, the real destroyers and creators of our day. Good destruction 
requires love. 

Hume, Bergson, and Proust interest me so much because in their work can 
be found profound elements for a new image of thought. There's something 
extraordinary in the way they tell us: thinking means something else than what 
you believe. We live with a particular image of thought, that is to say, before we 
begin to think, we have a vague idea of what it means to think, its means and 
ends. And then someone comes along and proposes another idea, a whole other 
image. Proust, for example, has the idea that every thought is an aggression, 
appearing under the constraint of a sign, and that we think only when we are 
forced and constrained to think. From then on, thought is no longer carried on 
by a voluntary self, but by involuntary forces, the "effects" of machines... Still, 
you have to be able to love the insignificant, to love what goes beyond persons 



and individuals; you have to open yourself to encounters and find a language in 
the singularities that exceed individuals, a language in the individuations that 
exceed persons. Yes, what we're looking for these days is a new image of the act 
of thought, its functioning, its genesis in thought itself. 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: Would this quote taken from your book on Proust sum up 
your thinking here: "There is no logos, there are only hieroglyphs"? Elsewhere, speak- 
ing of Masoch, you said the artist was "a symptomologist, " indicating that "etiology, 
the scientific or experimental part of medicine, must make room for symptomology, 
which is the literary or artistic part. "Is this the same problem in each case? 

Gilles Deleuze: It's the same problem: hieroglyphs vs. the logos, symptoms vs. 
essences (symptom here means events, drops, encounters, aggressions). The 
artist is a symptomologist. In the sense that characters from Shakespeare say: 
\\OSN goes it with the world? With all the psychological and political implications 
such a question entails. Nazism is a recent disease on this earth. And what the 
Americans are doing in Vietnam is yet another disease. The world can be treat- 
ed as a symptom and searched for signs of disease, signs of life, signs of a cure, 
signs of health. And sometimes a violent reaction is a sign of a robust health 
returning. Nietzsche thought of the philosopher as the physician of civilization. 
Henry Miller was an extraordinary diagnostician. The artist in general must 
treat the world as a symptom, and build his work not like a therapeutic, but in 
every case like a clinic. The artist is not outside the symptoms, but makes a work 
of art from them, which sometimes serves to precipitate them, and sometimes 
to transform them. 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: Here is something you wrote somewhere: "Thephysiologist, the 
physician is an interpreter, one who considers phenomena as symptoms and speaks in 
aphorisms. The artist evaluates, both considering and creating perspectives, and speaks 
in poems. The philosopher of the future is both artist and physician — in a word, a leg- 
islator "It has always struck me that most of those philosophers inspired by 

Nietzsche's thought, paradoxically, write in an almost traditional form. It seems to 
me that the structure of some of your books (which one could perhaps qualify as a 
mosaic structure) is moving toward inventing a new language for philosophy today. 
How should we interpret the clear interest you have in literature? 

Gilles Deleuze: As you are no doubt aware, the problem of formal renewal can 
be posed only when the content is new. Sometimes, even, the formal renewal 
comes after. It is what one has to say, what one thinks one has to say, that impos- 
es new forms. Now philosophy, it's true, is nothing spectacular. Philosophy has 
not at all undergone similar revolutions or experiments as those produced in sci- 
ence, painting, sculpture, music, or literature. Plato, Kant, and the rest — they 



remain fundamental, and that's fine. I mean, non-Euclidean geometries don't 
keep Euclid from being fundamental to geometry. Schoenberg doesn't nullify 
Mozart. Similarly, the search for modes of expression (both a new image of 
thought and new techniques) must be essential for philosophy. Beckett's com- 
plaint: "Ah, the old style!" takes on its full significance here. We get the feeling 
that we can't go on writing philosophy books in the old style much longer; they 
no longer interest the students, they don't even interest their authors. So, I think 
everyone is on the look-out for something new. Nietzsche discovered extraordi- 
nary methods, but you can't do it over again. You really have to be an impudent 
bastard to write Fruits of the Earth after Thus Spoke Zarathustra. 

The novel discovered its own renewal. It matters little that some people 
reproach the nouveau roman for being experimental or laboratory work. Those 
"books written against something" have never amounted to much (against the 
nouveau roman, against structuralism, etc.). It is only in the name of new creation 
that you can oppose, and then you have other things to think about. Let's take 
an example from cinema: Godard transforms cinema by introducing thought 
into it. He didn't have thoughts on cinema, he doesn't put more or less valid 
thought into cinema; he starts cinema thinking, and for the first time, if I'm not 
mistaken. Theoretically, Godard would be capable of filming Kant's Critique or 
Spinoza's Ethics, and it wouldn't be abstract cinema or a cinematographic appli- 
cation. Godard knew how to find both a new means and a new "image" — which 
necessarily presupposes a revolutionary content. So, in philosophy, we're all expe- 
riencing this problem of formal renewal. It's certainly possible. It begins with 
little things. For example, using the history of philosophy as a "collage" (already 
an old technique in painting) would not in the least diminish the great philoso- 
phers of the past — making a collage at the heart of a properly philosophical 
picture. That would be better than "selections," but it would require particular 
techniques. You would need some Max Ernsts in philosophy... Also, the medi- 
um in philosophy is the concept (like sound for the musician or color for the 
painter), the philosopher creates concepts. He executes his creation in a concep- 
tual "continuum" just like the musician does in a sonorous continuum. What's 
important here is this: where do concepts come from? What is the creation of 
concepts? A concept exists no less than characters do. In my opinion, what we 
need is a massive expenditure of concepts, an excess of concepts. You have to pre- 
sent concepts in philosophy as though you were writing a good detective novel: 
they must have a zone of presence, resolve a local situation, be in contact with 
the "dramas," and bring a certain cruelty with them. They must exhibit a certain 
coherence but get it from somewhere else. Samuel Butler coined a fabulous word 
to designate those stories that seem to come from elsewhere: EREWHON, it's 
both 'no-where,' the nowhere of origins, and 'now-here,' the here and now 
turned upside down, displaced, disguised. This is the genius of empiricism, 
which is so poorly understood: the creation of concepts in the wild, speaking in 



the name of a coherence which is not their own, nor that of God, nor that of the 
Self, but a coherence always on the way, always in disequilibrium with itself. 
What philosophy lacks is empiricism. 

Jean-Noel Vuarnet: They say you're now working on a book centered around 
the concept of repetition. How does this concept affect the human sciences, lit- 
erature, or philosophy? 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, I finished the book — on repetition and difference (they're 
the same thing) as the actual categories of our thought. It's the problem of repe- 
titions and constants, but also the problem of masks, disguises, displacements, 
and variations in repetition. These themes must mean something to our time if 
philosophers and novelists keep circling around them. People usually think about 
these themes quite independently of one another. But there's nothing quite so 
festive as a popular tune, is there? It's also one of my themes, rather involuntari- 
ly, just something that preoccupies me. Without trying to, I've been looking for 
it in all the writers I've loved. There are many recent excellent studies on the con- 
cepts of difference and repetition. So why not join in? Why not like so many 
others ask the question: What are we doing in philosophy? We're looking for 
"vitality." Even psychoanalysis needs to address a certain "vitality" in the patient, 
which the patient has lost, but which the analyst has lost, too. Philosophical 
vitality is not far off, nor is political vitality. Many things, many decisive repeti- 
tions and many changes are not far off. 


Gilles Deleuze Talks Philosophy 1 

Jeanette Colombel: You just published two books, Difference and Repetition and 
Spinoza and the Problem of Expression. And a still more recent work, The Logic of 
Sense, will come out very soon. Who speaks in these books? 

Gilles Deleuze: Whenever we write, we speak as someone else. And it is a par- 
ticular form that speaks through us. In the classical world, for example, what 
speaks is the individual. The classical world is entirely founded on the form of 
individuality; the individual is coextensive with being (we see this in God's 
position as the individuated sovereign being). In the romantic world, it is per- 
sons who speak, and this is quite different: the person is defined as coextensive 
with representation. These were new values in language and life. Spontaneity 
today perhaps escapes the individual as much as the person, and not simply 
because of anonymous powers. For a long time we were stuck with the alter- 
native: either you are persons or individuals, or you sink back into an 
undifferentiated sea of anonymity. Today, however, we are uncovering a world 
of pre-individual, impersonal singularities. They are not reducible to individu- 
als or persons, nor to a sea without difference. These singularities are mobile, 
they break in, thieving and stealing away, alternating back and forth, like anar- 
chy crowned, inhabiting a nomad space. There is a big difference between 
partitioning a fixed space among sedentary individuals according to boundaries 
or enclosures, and distributing singularities in an open space without enclo- 
sures or properties. The poet Ferlinghetti talks about the fourth person 
singular: it is that to which we try to give voice. 

Jeanette Colombel: Is that how you see the philosophers you interpret, as sin- 
gularities in an open space? To this day, I have always wanted to compare what 
you do to what a stage director does when he illuminates the written dramatic 



text. In Difference and Repetition, however, the comparison has been displaced: 
you're no longer an interpreter, you're a creator. Is this comparison still valid? Or 
is the role of the history of philosophy different? Is the history of philosophy the 
"collage" you are after, the "collage" that renews the landscape, or is it the "cita- 
tion" integrated into the text? 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, philosophers often have a difficult time with the history 
of philosophy; it's horrible, it's not easy to put behind you. Perhaps a good 
way of dealing with the problem is, as you say, to substitute a kind of staging 
for it. Staging means that the written text is going to be illuminated by other 
values, non-textual values (at least in the ordinary sense): it is indeed possible 
to substitute for the history of philosophy a theatre of philosophy. You say I 
have sought another technique, closer to collage than to theatre, for my con- 
ception of difference. The kind of collage technique or even the genesis of 
series (repetition with slight variations) which you see in Pop Art. But you 
also thought I wasn't entirely successful. I believe I go farther in my book on 
the logic of sense. 

Jeanette Colombel: What strikes me especially is the friendship you have for 
the authors you write about. Sometimes your reception seems too favorable 
even: for example, when you silence the conservative aspects of Bergson's 
thought. On the other hand, you are merciless with Hegel. Why is that? 

Gilles Deleuze: If you don't admire something, if you don't love it, you have 
no reason to write a word about it. Spinoza or Nietzsche are philosophers 
whose critical and destructive powers are without equal, but this power always 
springs from affirmation, from joy, from a cult of affirmation and joy, from 
the exigency of life against those who would mutilate and mortify it. For me, 
that is philosophy itself. But you're asking me about two other philosophers. 
Precisely, by virtue of those criteria of staging or collage we just discussed, it 
seems admissible to extract from a philosophy considered conservative as a 
whole those singularities which are not really singularities: that is what I did 
for Bergsonism and its image of life, its image of liberty or mental illness. 
Why not Hegel? Well, somebody has to play the role of traitor. What is philo- 
sophically incarnated in Hegel is the enterprise to "burden" life, to overwhelm 
it with every burden, to reconcile life with the State and religion, to inscribe 
death in life — the monstrous enterprise to submit life to negativity, the enter- 
prise of resentment and unhappy consciousness. Naturally, with this dialectic 
of negativity and contradiction, Hegel has inspired every language of betray- 
al, on the right as well as on the left (theology, spiritualism, technocracy, 
bureaucracy, etc.). 



Jeanette Colombel: Your hatred of negativity leads you to show difference and 
contradiction as antagonistic. Certainly the symmetrical opposition of con- 
traries in the Hegelian dialectic confirms your point, but is this relation the 
same for Marx? Why do you address this only in an allusive way? Your analy- 
sis, which is so fruitful, of the conflict-differences relation in Freud unmasks 
false symmetries: sadism/masochism, death instinct/death drive — couldn't one 
do the same for Marx? 

Gilles Deleuze: You're right, but this liberation of Marx from Hegel, this reap- 
propriation of Marx, this uncovering of differential and affirmative 
mechanisms in Marx, isn't this what Althusser is accomplishing so admirably? 
In any case, under the false opinions, under the false oppositions, you discov- 
er much more explosive systems, unsymmetrical wholes in disequilibrium 
(fetishes, for example, both economic and psychoanalytic). 

Jeanette Colombel: One last question in connection with the "un-spoken" in 
Marx: I clearly see the link between your philosophy and play, and I under- 
stand its relationship to contestation. But can it have a political dimension and 
contribute to a revolutionary practice? 

Gilles Deleuze: That's a tough question, I don't know. In the first place, there 
are relations of friendship or love that do not wait for the revolution, that do 
not prefigure it, although they are revolutionary on their own account: they 
have in them a contesting force which is proper to the poetic life, the beatniks 
for instance. They have more to do with Zen Buddhism than Marxism, but 
there are effective, explosive things in Zen. As for social relations, let's suppose 
that the task of philosophy in this or that era is to have a particular instance 
speak through it: the individual in the classical world, the person in the roman- 
tic world, or singularities in the modern world. Philosophy does not bring 
about the existence of these instances: it gives them voice through itself. But 
they do exist and are produced in history and themselves depend on social rela- 
tions. Well then! Revolution would be the transformation of those relations 
corresponding to the development of this or that instance (such as the bour- 
geois individual in the "classical" revolution of 1789). The real problem of 
revolution, a revolution without bureaucracy, would be the problem of new 
social relations, where singularities come into play, active minorities in nomad 
space without property or enclosure. 


Gueroult's General Method 
for Spinoza 1 

M. Geuroult has published the first volume of his Spinoza, which focuses on 
Book I of the Ethics. It is too bad that the publisher has its own reasons for 
keeping the second volume, which is finished, from being released at this time, 
since the second volume promises to follow up the direct consequences of the 
first. One can nevertheless appreciate the importance of this first volume, from 
the perspective of Spinozism as well as the perspective of the general method 
developed by Gueroult. 

Gueroult renewed the history of philosophy through a genetic-structural 
method which he had developed well before structuralism became fashionable 
in other disciplines. In Gueroult's method, a structure is defined by an order of 
reasons. Reasons are the differential and generative elements of the corresponding 
system; they are genuine philosophemes that exist only in relation to one another. 
Reasons are nonetheless quite different according to whether they are simple rea- 
sons of knowledge or genuine reasons of being — in other words, according to 
whether their order is analytic or synthetic, an order of knowledge vs. an order 
of production. It is only in the second case that the genesis of the system is also 
a genesis of things through and in the system. But we must be careful not to 
oppose the two systems in too summarily a fashion. When the reasons are rea- 
sons of knowledge, it is true that the method of invention is essentially analytical; 
synthesis, however, is integrated within it, either as a method of exposition, or 
more profoundly, because reasons of being are encountered in the order of rea- 
sons, but precisely that place assigned to them by the relation among elements of 
knowledge (e.g., Descartes's ontological proof). Conversely, in the other type of 
system, when the reasons are determined as reasons of being, it is true that the 
synthetic method becomes the real method of invention; however, since regres- 
sive analysis is destined to lead as quickly as possible to the determination of those 
elements which are reasons of being, it takes on meaning or sense at the very 



point where it is relayed and even absorbed by progressive synthesis. The two 
types of systems can thus be distinguished structurally, that is to say, more pro- 
foundly than just by a simple opposition. 

Gueroult demonstrated this already concerning Fichte's method, which is 
opposed to Kant's analytic method. The opposition is not comprised of a radical 
duality, but a particular reversal: the analytic process is not ignored or rejected by 
Fichte, but works to suppress itself. "As the principle tends to absorb it com- 
pletely, the analytic process takes on an ever larger scale... At every moment, 
[The Doctrine of Science] affirms that, since the principle must stand alone, the 
analytic method must not pursue any end other than its own suppression. This 
means that the constructive method alone should be effective." 2 The deep Spin- 
ozism of Fichte leads us to think that an analogous problem may be posed 
concerning Spinoza himself, but in opposition to Descartes. Because it is literal- 
ly false that Spinoza begins with the idea of God, in a synthetic process which is 
assumed to be ready-made. The Treatise on the Reform of the Intellect invites us to 
raise ourselves, beginning from any idea at all, as quickly as possible to the idea of 
God, where all fiction ceases, and where progressive genesis relays and in a way 
wards off, but does not suppress, the preliminary analysis. Nor does the Ethics 
begin with the idea of God; in the order of definitions, it comes in sixth place, 
and in the order of propositions, ninth and tenth place. Consequently, one of the 
fundamental problems of Gueroult's book can be formulated in this way: what 
exactly is going on in the first eight propositions? 

The order of reasons is in no case a hidden order. It does not refer to a latent 
content, to something left unsaid; rather, the order of reasons is always on the 
same plane as the system (e.g. the order of reasons of knowledge in Descartes's 
Meditationes, or the order of reasons of being in Spinoza's Ethics). According to 
Gueroult, this is why the historian of philosophy is not an interpreter.' Structure 
is never something left unsaid which must be discovered beneath what is said; 
the structure can be discovered only by following the explicit order of the author. 
And yet, though always explicit and manifest, the structure is the most difficult 
thing to see: it goes unnoticed, neglected by the historian of ideas or other sub- 
jects. This is because structure is identical to the fact of saying, a pure 
philosophical given [factum), but which is constantly twisted by what one says, 
both the material treated and the ideas brought together. Seeing structure or the 
order of reasons is thus following the path along which the material is dissociat- 
ed according to the demands of the order, and the ideas decomposed according 
to their generative differential elements, along which also the elements or reasons 
are organized into "series"; one must follow the chains to where independent 
series form a "nexus" the intersection ofproblems or solutions." 

Just as he followed Descartes's analytic geometric order step by step in the 
Meditationes, so Gueroult follows Spinoza's synthetic geometric order step by 
step in the Ethics: definitions, axioms, propositions, demonstrations, corollar- 



ies, scolia... And this procedure no longer has a simply didactic application, as 
it does in Lewis Robinson's commentary. 5 The reader has every right to expect: 
1) the emergence of the structure of the Spinozist system, that is, the determi- 
nation of the generative elements and kinds of relations they exhibit, the series 
into which they fall, and the "nexuses" between series (structure as spritual 
automaton); 2) the reasons why Spinoza's geometric method is strictly adequate 
to this structure, that is, how the structure effectively frees the geometric con- 
struction from the limits that affect it as long as it is applied to figures (beings of 
reason or imagination), and causes it to impact real beings by assigning the con- 
ditions of such an extension; 6 finally, and this is hardly a detail, 3) the reasons 
why a demonstration shows up in one particular place, is accompanied when 
necessary by other demonstrations to double it, and refers to this or that previ- 
ous demonstration (when the impatient reader could imagine other filiations). 
These last two aspects, concerning the proper method and the proper formalism 
of the system, derive directly from the structure. 

Let's add a final theme: since the structure of the system is defined by an 
order or a space of coexistent reasons, we can ask what the proper history of the 
system, its internal evolution become. If Gueroult more often than not relegates 
such a study to appendices, it is not at all because it is negligible, nor because his 
book is meant to be a commentary on the Ethics as "masterpiece." Rather, an evo- 
lution — unless it is purely imaginary, arbitrarily fixed by the historian of 
ideas — can be deduced only from a rigorous comparison of the structural states 
of the system. Only the structural state of the Ethics enables one to decide, for 
example, whether the Short Treatise exhibits some other structure or simply 
another state less resonant with the same structure, and what is the importance 
of the revisions from the perspective of the generative elements and their rela- 
tions. In general, a system evolves inasmuch as certain pieces change their 
position, in such a way that they cover a larger space than before, even while they 
more tightly control this space. However, it can happen that a system includes 
enough points of indetermination for several possible orders to coexist within it: 
Gueroult brilliantly showed this for Malebranche." But in the case of systems that 
are particularly saturated or tight-knit, an evolution is necessary for particular 
reasons to change their positions and thus produce a new effect. Concerning 
Fichte, Gueroult already discusses "internal surges of the system" which deter- 
mine new dissociations, displacements, and relations." Gueroult raises the 
question of such internal surges in Spinozism on several occasions in the appen- 
dices of his book: concerning the essence of God, the proofs of the existence of 
God, and the demonstration of absolute determinism, but most importantly, in 
two extremely dense and exhaustive pages, concerning the definitions of sub- 
stance and attribute. 10 

In effect, it seems that the Short Treatise is above all preoccupied with iden- 
tifying God and Nature: thus attributes can be unconditionally identified with 



substances, and substances defined as attributes. So we find a particular valoriza- 
tion of Nature, since God is defined as Being which presents only every attribute 
or substance, and a devalorization of substances or attributes, which are not yet 
self-caused but only self-conceived. On the other hand, the Ethics is concerned 
to identify God and substance itself: so we find a valorization of substance which 
is genuinely constituted by every attribute or qualified substance, each fully 
enjoying the property of being self -caused, and each being a constitutive element 
and no longer a simple presence; we also find a particular displacement of 
Nature, whose identity with God must be established, and so from that point on, 
such a displacement aptly expresses the mutual immanence of created nature and 
creative nature. Suddenly, we realize that it is less a question of another structure 
than of another state of the same structure. Thus the study of the internal evo- 
lution completes the study of the method proper as well as the study of the 
characteristic formalism, all three of which become clear once the structure of the 
system has been determined. 

What exactly is going on in the first eight propositions, when Spinoza 
demonstrates that there is one substance per attribute, and thus that there are just 
as many qualified substances as there are attributes, each qualified substance 
enjoying the properties of being unique in its kind, self-caused, and infinite? 
Critics have often acted like Spinoza's reasoning had adopted a hypothesis that 
was not his own and then ascended to the unity of substance as an ahypotheical 
principle which nullifies his initial hypothesis. This problem is crucial for sever- 
al reasons. First, this ahypothetical procedure attributed to Spinoza can be 
corroborated by a corresponding element in the Treatise on the Reform of the 
Intellect: here Spinoza's point of departure is any true idea, ideas of geometrical 
beings which can still be impregnated with fiction, in order to reach as quickly 
as possible the idea of God, where all fiction ceases. Secondly, from the perspec- 
tive of the Ethics, the practical evaluation of the role of the first eight propositions 
becomes decisive for the theoretical comprehension of the nature of attributes; 
certainly, moreover, it is only insofar as the first eight propositions are accorded 
merely a hypothetical sense that we get two misreadings of the attribute: 1) the 
Kantian illusion that makes attributes forms or concepts of the understanding, 
and 2) the neo-Platonic vertigo that makes attributes already degraded emana- 
tions or manifestations." Finally, it is clear that something in the first eight 
propositions is merely provisional and conditioned, so the real question is what, 
and whether we can say that it is the first eight propositions as a whole which are 
provisional and conditioned. 

Gueroult's answer is that the first eight propositions are perfectly categorical. 
If they weren't, then we could not understand how these propositions confer on 
each qualified substance positive and apodictic properties, and especially the 
property of being self-caused (qualified substances did not yet have this proper- 



ty in the Short Treatise). That there is one substance per attribute, and one only, 
is tantamount to saying that attributes, and only attributes, are in reality distinct; 
this affirmation from the Ethics, moreover, has nothing hypothetical about it. 12 It 
is only by ignoring the nature of real distinction according to Spinoza, and thus 
the whole logic of distinction, that commentators have conferred a merely hypo- 
thetical sense on the first eight propositions. In fact, it is because real distinction 
cannot be numerical that qualified substances or attributes which are in reality 
distinct constitute one and the same substance. More than that, in all rigor, one 
as a number is no more adequate to substance than 2, 3, 4... are adequate to 
attributes as qualified substances; and throughout his commentary, Gueroult 
emphasizes a devaluation of number in general, since it does not adequately 
express the nature of mode." Saying that attributes are in reality distinct is tan- 
tamount to saying that each is conceived of itself, without negation or in 
opposition to another, and that they are all therefore affirmed of the same sub- 
stance. Far from being an obstacle, their real distinction is the condition for 
constituting a being all the more rich for having attributes. 14 The logic of real dis- 
tinction is a logic of purely affirmative difference and without negation. 
Attributes indeed constitute an irreducible multiplicity, but the whole question is 
what type of multiplicity. The problem is erased if the substantive 'multiplicity' 
is transformed into two opposed adjectives {multiple attributes and one sub- 
stance). Attributes are a formal or qualitative multiplicity, "a concrete plurality 
which, because it implies the intrinsic difference and reciprocal heterogeneity of 
the beings that comprise it, has nothing in common with the plurality of num- 
ber literally understood."" On two occasions, moreover, Gueroult uses the term 
"motley" [bigarre]: God is simple insofar as he is not composed of parts, but no 
less complex insofar as he is constituted by "prima elementa" which alone are 
absolutely simple; "God is thus a motley ens realissimum, not a pure, ineffable 
and unqualifiable ens simplicissimum in which all differences would disappear;" 
"God is motley, but unfragmentable, constituted of heterogeneous but insepara- 
ble attributes." 16 

Keeping in mind the inadequacy of numerical language, we can say that 
attributes are quiddities or substantial forms of absolutely one substance: consti- 
tutive elements, which are irreducible, of a substance that is ontologically 
constituted as one; structural elements, which are multiple, of the systematic 
unity of the substance; differential elements ot a substance that neither juxta- 
poses nor grounds them, but integrates them. 17 In other words, we find in 
Spinozism not only a genesis of modes from the substance, but a genealogy of the 
substance itself, and the sense of the first eight propositions precisely establishes 
this genealogy. Certainly, the genesis of the modes is not the same as the geneal- 
ogy of the substance, since the first concerns the determinations or the parts of 
one same reality, and the second deals with the diverse realities of one same 
being; the first concerns physical composition, the second deals with logical con- 



stitution; or to borrow an expression from Hobbes which inspired Spinoza: the 
first is a "descriptio generati, " whereas the second is a "descriptio generationis. " * 
Nevertheless, both the genesis and the genealogy can be spoken of in one and the 
same sense (God as the cause of all things having the same sense as being self- 
caused) precisely because the genesis of modes comes about in the attributes, and 
this could not occur immanently if the attributes themselves were not the 
genealogical elements of the substance. What emerges from this is the method- 
ological unity of Spinozism as a genetic philosophy. 

This genetic or constructive philosophy is inseparable from a synthetic 
method, in which attributes are determined as genuine reasons of being. These 
reasons are constitutive elements: there is thus no ascension from attributes to 
substance, from "attributive substances" to absolutely infinite substance; the 
absolutely infinite substance contains no other reality than these attributive sub- 
stances, although the absolutely infinite substance is their integration and not 
their sum (a sum would yet presuppose number and numerical distinction). But 
as we saw earlier, Gueroult has shown that the synthetic method cannot be sim- 
ply opposed to an analytic and regressive process. And in the Treatise on the 
Reform of the Intellect, the point of departure is any true idea whatsoever, even if 
it is still impregnated with fiction and nothing in nature corresponds to it, in 
order then to ascend as quickly as possible to the idea of God, where all fiction 
ceases, and where things as well as ideas are engendered starting from God. In 
the Ethics, to be sure, we do not ascend from attribute-substances to the absolute- 
ly infinite substance; but we attain attribute-substances as real constitutive 
elements through a regressive analytic process, such that the attribute-substances 
are not objects of a genetic construction, and they must not be; rather, they are 
objects of a demonstration from absurdity (essentially, the modes of substance are 
"toppled" to show that each attribute can only designate an incommensurable 
substance, unique in its kind, existing for itself, and necessarily infinite). And 
what is abolished or overcome after that is not the result of the regressive process, 
since the attributes exist exactly as they are perceived, but the process itself 
which, as soon as the attributes are perceived as constitutive elements, gives way 
to the process of genetic construction. Thus genetic construction integrates the 
analytic process and its self-suppression. In this sense, then, we are sure to attain 
reasons of being and not simple reasons of knowledge. In this sense, too, the geo- 
metric method surmounts what was still fictional when it was applied to simple 
figures, revealing itself adequate to the constructability of the real. 19 In short, 
what is provisional is not the content of the first eight propositions, nor is it any 
of the properties conferred on the attribute-substances, it is only the analytic pos- 
sibility for these substances to form separate existences, a possibility that was not 
effected at all in the first eight propositions. 20 

Now we see that the construction of the unique substance occurs at the inter- 
section of two series and precisely forms a nexus (because commentators were 



unaware of this, they acted like there was an "ascent" from the attributes to the 
substance, according to a single hypothetical series, or like the attributes were 
only reasons of knowledge, according to a problematic series). In fact, the first 
eight propositions represent a first series through which we ascend to the differ- 
ential constitutive elements; then the 9th, 10th, and 11th represent another 
series through which the idea of God integrates these elements and makes clear 
it can be constituted only by all these elements together. This is why Spinoza 
expressly states that the first eight propositions can have no impact if we do not 
"simultaneously" keep in mind the definition of God. Spinoza is never satisfied 
with drawing a conclusion, according to one series only, about the unicity of the 
constituted substance from the unity of constitutive substances. On the contrary, 
he invokes the infinite power of an Ens realissimum, and its necessary unicity as 
substance, to draw a conclusion about the unity of the substances that constitute 
it without losing any of their previous properties. 21 Thus we distinguish the struc- 
tural elements that are in reality distinct from the condition under which they 
compose a structure that functions as a whole, where everything works in pairs, 
and where real distinction will be a guarantee of formal correspondence and 
ontological identity. 

The "nexus" between the two series is apparent in the notion of self-cause, 
with the central role it plays in genesis. Causa sui is first and foremost a proper- 
ty of each qualified substance. And the apparent vicious circle according to which 
it derives itself from the infinite, even as it grounds the infinite, can be undone 
in the following way: it derives itself from infinitude as the full perfection of 
essence, but grounds infinitude as the absolute affirmation of existence. The same 
goes for God or the unique substance: its existence is proved first by the infinity 
of its essence, then by self-causation as the genetic reason of the infinitude of 
existence, "namely the infinitely infinite power of the Ens realissimum, by which 
this being, necessarily causing itself, absolutely posits its existence in all its exten- 
sion and plenitude, without limitation or fault." 22 On the one hand, it follows 
that the genetic construction as a whole is inseparable from a deduction of its dis- 
tinctive features, whose causa sui is paramount. The deduction of distinctive 
features is interwoven, intertwined with the genetic construction: "If we discov- 
ered that the thing causes itself after having proceded to the genesis of its 
essence. is no less certain that the genesis of the thing was obtained only by the 
knowledge of this distinctive feature that accounts for its existence. And from 
this fact, we have made real progress also in the knowledge of essence, since with 
its truth being rigorously demonstrated, it becomes rigorously clear that it is in 
reality an essence. And what holds for the causa sui holds, in varying degrees, for 
all the other distinctive features: eternity, infinitude, indivisibility, unicity, etc., 
because these are nothing more than the causa sui itself from different points of 
view." 2 ' On the other hand, the causa sui appears at the "nexus" of the two series 



of genesis, because it is the identity of the attributes, as to the cause or causal act, 
that explains the unicity of a single substance existing of itself, despite the dif- 
ference of its attributes as to its essence: the attributes are diverse and 
incommensurable realities, integrated into an indivisible being "only by the iden- 
tity of the causal act through which they give themselves existence and produce 
their modes." 24 

The causa sui animates the whole theme of power. However, we risk a mis- 
reading as we evaluate the intertwining of notions, if we attribute to this power 
an independence which it does not have, and to the distinctive features, an 
autonomy which they do not have in relation to the essence. Power itself, the 
causa sui, is only a distinctive feature; and if it is true that it is displaced from 
qualified substances to the unique substance, it is only insofar as this substance, 
because of its essence, made use a fortiori of the characters of the substantial 
attributes, because of their essence. In conformity with the difference between 
distinctive feature and essence, the substance would not be unique without 
power, but it is not by virtue of power that the substance is unique, it is by virtue 
of its essence: "If by the unicity of power (i.e. the power of the attributes), we 
understand how it is possible that the attributes are one despite the diversity of 
their proper essences, the reason that grounds their union in one substance alone 
is nothing other than the infinite constitutive perfection of the essence of God." 25 
This explains why it is so misleading to invert Spinoza's formulation and claim 
that the essence of God is power, especially when Spinoza himself says: "the 
power of God is his very essence." 26 In other words, power is the inseparable dis- 
tinctive feature of essence, and it expresses at once how the essence is the cause 
of the existence of substance and the cause of the other things that derive from 
it. So, "power is nothing other than essence" means two things: 1) God has no 
other power than the power of his essence; he acts and produces only through his 
essence, and not through an understanding or a will: he is thus the cause of every 
thing in the same sense that he is self -caused, since the notion of power express- 
es precisely the identity of the cause of every thing with the self-caused; 2) the 
products or effects of God are properties which derive from essence, but which 
are necessarily produced in the constitutive attributes of this essence; they are thus 
modes, whose unity in the different attributes is in turn explained by the theme 
of power, that is, the identity of the causal act which posits the properties in each 
of the modes (whence you have the assimilation: real effects = properties = 
modes; plus the formulation "God produces an infinity of things in an infinity 
of modes," where thing refers to the singular cause acting in all the attributes at 
once, and modes, to the essences dependent on the respective attributes). 27 

The rigorous interweaving of essence and power precludes essences from 
being models in a creative understanding, and power from being raw force in a 
creative will. The conception of possibles is excluded from God, just as is the 
realization of contingents: the understanding as well as the will can only be a 



finite or infinite mode. We must take a moment to appreciate this devaluation 
of the understanding. Because when understanding in the essence of God is 
established, the word 'understanding' becomes ambiguous; clearly, the infinite 
understanding can only be related to our own by analogy, and clearly, the per- 
fections generally belonging to God cannot have the same form as those 
belonging to his creatures. On the contrary, when we say that divine under- 
standing is no less a mode than finite or human understanding is, we not only 
establish the adequation of the human understanding as part, to the divine 
understanding as whole, we also establish the adequation of all understanding to 
the forms which it includes, since modes envelope the perfections on which they 
depend in the same form as the perfections which constitute the essence of substance. 
Mode is an effect; but if the effect differs from the cause in essence and existence, 
it at least has in common with cause the forms that it envelopes only in its 
essence, whereas the forms constitute the essence of the substance. 28 Thus, the 
reduction of the infinite understanding to the state of a mode is inseparable 
from two other theses, which ensure at once the most rigorous distinction of 
essence and existence between substance and its products, and yet the most per- 
fect commonality of form (univocity). Conversely, the confusion of infinite 
understanding with the essence of substance leads to a distortion of the forms 
which God possesses only in his incomprehensible manner, i.e. eminently, but 
also a confusion of essence between substance and its creatures, since the per- 
fections of humankind are complacently attributed to God by raising them to 
the infinite. 29 

This formal status of the understanding explains the possibility of the geo- 
metric, synrhetic, and genetic method. Whence we have Gueroult's insistence 
on the nature of the Spinozist undersranding, the opposition between Descartes 
and Spinoza as to this problem, not to mention Spinozism's most radical thesis: 
absolute rationalism, based on the adequation of our understanding to absolute 
knowledge. "By affirming the total intelligibility for humankind of the essence 
of God and things, Spinoza is consciously opposing Descartes... Absolute ratio- 
nalism, imposing the total intelligibility of God, the key of the total 
intelligibility of things, is thus for Spinozism the first article of faith. Through 
God alone is the soul purged from the multiple superstitions, for which an 
incomprehensible God serves as the ultimate refuge, and through him does the 
soul accomplish this perfect union of God and humanity that conditions salva- 
tion.'" There would be no genetic and synthetic method if what is engendered 
were not in a way equal to what engenders (thus the modes are neither more nor 
less than the substance)," and if what engenders were not itself the object of a 
genealogy that grounds the genesis of what is engendered (thus the attributes are 
the genealogical elements of substance, and the genetic principles of the modes). 
Gueroult analyzes this structure of Spinozism in every detail. And because a 
structure is defined by its effect as a whole, no less than by its elements, relations, 



nexuses and intertwinings, we sometimes witness a change in tone, as though 
Gueroult were unveiling or suddenly revealing the functioning effect of the 
structure as a whole, which he will develop in the volumes to follow: such as the 
effect of knowledge (how does humankind manage to "situate itself in God, that 
is, to occupy in the structure that place which the knowledge of the true assigns 
to God, and which also ensures true knowledge and true freedom); or also, the 
effect of life (how does power, as essence, constitute the "life" of God which is 
communicated to humankind, and how does it in reality ground the identity of 
humankind's independence in God and of its independence from God). 32 The 
importance of this admirable book by Gueroult is twofold: from the standpoint 
of the general method he establishes, and from the standpoint of Spinozism, of 
which the method does not represent merely one application among others, but 
indeed embodies, coming as it does at the end of a series of studies on Descartes, 
Malebranche and Leibniz, the most adequate, the most saturated, and the most 
exhaustive object for such a method. Gueroult's book establishes the genuinely 
scientific study of Spinozism. 


The Fissure of Anaxagoras and the 
Local Fires of Heraclitus 

Kostas Axelos, in search of planetary thought, defines it in these terms: "Plane- 
tary certainly means planet earth, the terrestrial globe, and its relationship to the 
other planets. It is the global. But the extension of this concept remains too 
great... Planetary means whatever is itinerant and errant, wandering as it follows 
a trajectory in space-time and performing a rotational movement. Planetary indi- 
cates the era of global planning, in which the subjects and the objects of the will 
to organize and foresee are swept up motionless on an itinerary that surpasses 
both subject and object. Planetary names the reign of platitude as it spreads and 
flattens everything, which is also more errant than aberrant. As a noun, more- 
over, and according to dictionaries, the planetary designates a kind of 
technological mechanism, ox gears and wheels. Therefore, the play of thought and 
the planetary is global, erratic, itinerant, organizing, planning and flattening, 
caught up in gears and wheels. " 2 The history of the world is marked by the great 
figures of errancy: Odysseus, Don Quixote, the Wandering Jew, Bouvard and 
Pechuet, Bloom, Malone — who in the words of Ezra Pound are average sensual 
types hoping and praying for "the most general generalization." The great figures 
of errancy are indeed thinkers. Bouvard and Pechuet are the first planetary cou- 
ple. But we have perfected errancy, as though we no longer needed to move. 
Planetary thought includes the sanitized philosophy of technician-generals who 
dream of precision-guided bombs, and whose cosmology rivals that ofTeilhard, 
as well as the meager reflections of those who are going to the moon, but also the 
thought recorded in the instruments that propel them into space, and finally the 
thoughts of us all as we watch, glued to the television, motionless and schizoid: 
average, sensual, "compact and fissured." 1 There is no reason to privilege one 
aspect over the other: planning over globalization, or errancy over platitude. We 
have achieved what was foretold: the absence of any goal. Errancy has ceased 
being a return to the origin; it is no longer even ab-erration, which would still 



presuppose a fixed point; it is as far from error as it is from truth. Errancy has 
conquered autonomy in a kind of catatonic immobility 

Attention has been turned to the means Axelos uses to express the magma 
which planetary thought ought to be, and which it is indeed, but which poses 
considerable technical problems of registration, translation, and poeticization, 
with one filter placed on another, and one fragment lodged in another. Axelos 
pulls up short of Plato, tending toward the pre-Socratics; and he goes beyond 
Marx, moving toward post-Marxism. In his work we find: a turning of aphorisms 
borrowed from what survives of Heraclitus, a posing of theses borrowed from the 
militant Marx, zen-like anecdotes, projects, refrains, tracts, and plans reminis- 
cent of the Utopian socialists. But one feels, too, that Axelos would like to have 
audio-visual means at his disposal, that he is dreaming of a Heraclitus at the head 
of a post-Marxist group of commandos, seizing a radio station to broadcast short 
aphoristic messages or round-tables of eternal return. In his work, Heideggerian 
terminology is retuned and takes on new meaning, even as it is converted from 
the country to the city. Axelos tries to reevaluate the possibilities of cinema as an 
expression of the modern forms of errancy 1 But his assiduous study of the pre- 
Socratics is no more a return to origins than post-Marxism is itself a goal: it is 
rather about grasping an absence of origin as the "planetary becoming" that 
appeared in Greece, and that now appears to us, as we deviate with respect to 
every goal. 

LeJeu du monde is written in aphorisms. The object proper to the apho- 
rism is the partial object, the fragment, the part. Today we are familiar with 
what Maurice Blanchot has taught us about the conditions of a thought and a 
"language of fragment": speaking and thinking the partial object not as pre- 
supposing any anterior totality from which it would derive, nor any posterior 
whole which would derive from the fragment, but quite the opposite: letting 
the fragment evolve for itself and for other fragments. This is accomplished by 
making the distance, the divergence, and the decentering which separate the 
fragments, but which also mix them up, into an affirmation such as "a new 
relation with the Outside," and which cannot be reduced to unity. Each apho- 
rism must be conceived as endowed with a propulsive mechanism; and 
projections, introjections, as well as fixations, regressions, and sublimations, 
are not simply psychological processes but cosmo-anthropological mecha- 
nisms. In a sense, humankind renews its ties with a destiny that can be read in 
the planets and stars. 5 Planetary thought is not unifying: it implies hidden 
depths in space, an extension of deep universes, incommensurate distances and 
proximities, non-exact numbers, an essential opening of our system, a whole 
fiction-philosophy. This is why the planetary is not the same thing as the 
world, even in Heideggerian terms: Heidegger's world is dislocated, "the world 
and the cosmos are not identical." 6 Nor are the affective overtones of planetary 
being the same as those of being-in-the-world. Charles Koechlin, inquiring 



into the expressive sentimental possibilities of modern music, claims that mod- 
ern music has renounced classical "affirmations" and romantic "effusions," but 
that it is rather apt for expressing "a particular disarray, a particular disequilib- 
rium, even a particular indifference," and also "a strange joy almost like 
happiness." This triple 'particular' — disarray, disequilibrium, indifference — 
defines planetary music, the pathos of planetary thought, which is bitter, but 
joyful by dint of a particular strangeness (strangeness, rather than alienation, 
as the determination of errancy)/ 

To this pathos there corresponds a logic, a logos. The aphorism's "small form" 
must not be reminiscence or archaicism, a collection of pieces surviving a past 
whole, but a means adapted to exploring the contemporary world, its holes and 
constellations. The logic here is one of probability, referring not to properties or 
classes but to cases. Whence the importance of an ambiguous sign {and/or) that 
must indicate all at once conjunction (and), disjunction (or), and exclusion (nor). 
When Axelos accumulates expressions such as "metaphysically anti-metaphysi- 
cal," "discordant concord," "to marvel but without astonishment," "one crab 
devouring another is devoured by a third," "what does the manipulating is 
manipulated," etc., they are not so much facile dialectical transformations, the 
monotone identity of opposites, as sequences of random cases in which con- 
junction and disjunction, disjunction or conjunction replace the form of the 
judgment of existence and attribution which was still the basis of dialectical 
thinking (is, is not). "What if the there is and the is no longer tyrannized us, what 

if the there is not and the is not did not appear as simple privation " s The 

Hegelian, as well as Marxist dialectic, which is perhaps Heideggarian, too, 
evolves in the categories of being, non-being, and the One-All. And what can the 
All do except totalize nothingness, and nihilize nothingness no less than being? 
"Nihilism nihilizes nothingness, because it leaves nothingness unthought"^ This 
nothing can drive us mad, cause us anguish, even be imagined, but it nonetheless 
remains unthought in nihilism. Nihilism is indeed the universal determination 
of modernity, just as platitude is the movement of errancy. As Axelos keeps say- 
ing and showing: "it's not about stopping the process," whether fighting against 
platitude or overcoming nihilism. 10 But this nothing in nihilism is precisely what 
remains unthought as total universal conflagration or end of the world, and it is 
also what detotalizes and disperses its own movement, kindling here and there 
the local fires of these fragments in which nihilism is already self-overcome and 
self-foreseen — which causes Axelos to remark: "ever to begin again and again. Till 
the final and fatal explosion, which will come much later than we think." Plane- 
tary thought can have no other logic: it wills itself, it presents itself as politics, 
strategy. Some of the books Axelos has published in his "Arguments" series he 
likes to think of as unstable states of that planetary thought of which he dreams." 
One of the first books in the series was Clausewitz's On War. Beyond Clausewitz, 
the modern identity of strategy and politics from the perspective of thermonu- 



clear nihilism has been recently shown to produce "detotalized and dispersed 
war: wars and/or limited agreements." 12 The revolutionary response to American 
world politics, invoking game theory, is four or five Vietnams. Heraclitus as 
strategist, combat philosopher: Heraclitus says that all things become fire, but is 
precisely not thinking of a universal conflagration, which he leaves unthought as 
the nothing of nihilism, showing nihilism necessarily self-overcome or overcome 
by what is unthought in it, in the local fires that unite the peoples of the earth. 13 
Physics, metaphysics, psychology and sociology are no more in planetary 
thought; there is nothing left but a generalized strategy. 

This is our difference from Clausewitz, but also Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, and 
even still from Heraclitus... Because we think without origin, and without des- 
tination, difference becomes the highest thought, but we cannot think it between 
two things, between a point of departure and a point of arrival, not even between 
Being [I'etre] and being [I'e'tant]. Difference cannot be affirmed as such without 
devouring the two terms that cease to contain it, though it does not itself cease 
from passing through assignable terms. Difference is the true logos, but logos is 
the errancy that does away with fixed points; indifference is its pathos. Difference 
emerges from and re-enters a fissure that swallows up all things and beings. 
Where does difference go? asks Axelos, with one near-sighted, and one far-sight- 
ed eye. "What line separates the horizon of the visible from the invisible 
harmony?" Where does the rhythm alternate? "In the great encompassing space 
and not in one specific place?" Axelos traces a commentary by Anaxagoras, which 
keeps asking the question: where is the fissure? Where does it lie? "Is there on one 
side an autonomous pure Noils, and on the other a chaos of preexisting beings, 
and in a third place, a chaos transformed into a cosmos by the Nous? Where does 
the fissure lie? In the chaos? Between the chaos and the cosmos? In the cosmos? 
In the Nous and its position? In its action? In the composition of the world? In 
the exposition of Anaxagoras? In our comprehension?. ..We are struck by the 
fragmentation and dispersion that go hand in hand with differences; we grow 
nostalgic, crushed by and under the pressure of indifference; we mix everything 
up, yet we come from this mixture... we are obsessed by our time, yet how can 
we communicate with ancient time and with the play of time?" 1 ' Axelos occupies 
that point where difference ceaselessly communicates — where the difference 
between mixture and separation is also the difference in the mixture and/or in 
the separation, and the difference "in" Anaxagoras is also our difference "from" 
Anaxagoras, at once origin and destination. Therefore, it would be imprecise to 
present Axelos as a critic of totality, retaining only a world of fragments. It is true 
that the whole is never conceived as totalization: neither the way Plato does, as 
the action of a unity principle ordering chaos, nor the way Hegel and Marx do, 
as the process of a becoming that gathers and surpasses its moments. Once again, 
here we see Axelos, who with his "Arguments" — both the journal and the 
series — did all he could to disseminate Lukacs and the Frankfurt School in 



France, marking off "his" own difference with respect to a conception of the 
Whole. 15 All totalization, including first and foremost the totalization of the 
"process of social and historical experience praxis," is nihilism to Axelos, and 
leads to the nothing which remains unthought in nihilism. Totalization seems to 
him the movement of bureaucratic platitude. But if it is true that nihilism is self- 
overcome in the sense that the nothing is thought, it must be thought as a 
Whole — but a whole that does not totalize or unify, whose parts do not presup- 
pose it as a lost unity nor even as a fragmented totality, and which is not formed 
or prefigured by the parts in the course of a logical development or organic evo- 
lution. A whole that no longer counts on existence and attribution, but thrives 
on conjunction and disjunction, in mixture or separation, being but one with the 
unforeseen course of the fissure in every direction, a river carrying partial objects 
and varying their distances, constituting in Blanchot's words a new relation with 
the Outside, which is the object of thought today In this sense, the keynote of 
all Axelos's books is "being in the process of becoming a fragmentary totality"; 
and writing in aphorisms, he can say that the aphorism and the system are the 
same thing, the Whole-Fragment always outside itself, which throws itself both 
in the fissure of Anaxagoras and in the local fires of Heraclitus.'" 

Axelos's Lejeu du monde is a planetary history The elementary forces of work 
and strife, language and thought, love and death comprise the great powers of 
myths and religions, poetry and art, science and philosophy But the technology 
at work in all these powers brings about a generalized planning that ushers in 
their crisis, and it raises the question of their planetary destiny. It is as if at one 
and the same time a single code persists, the code of technology, and yet there is 
no longer any code capable of covering the whole of the social field. In planetary 
being, the earth has become flat again. However, this leveling of dimensions pre- 
viously filled by such powers, this flattening that reduces things and beings to the 
unidimensional — in a word, this nihilism, has the most bizarre effect: it revital- 
izes the elementary forces in the raw play of all their dimensions; it liberates the 
unthought nothing in a counter-power which is multidimensional play. Of the most 
unfortunate souls, one no longer says that they are alienated or tortured by the 
powers, but rather that they are played by forces. Even the planetary politics of 
the Unites States, in its role as aggressive policeman, is systematized and frag- 
mented in game theory. And the efforts of the revolution can respond to it only 
by local strategies, giving as good as it gets, inventing parades, initiatives, and 
new stratagems. From the outset, Axelos's work has taken this concept of play to 
its highest point. With Fink, Axelos was one of the first to go beyond the tradi- 
tional conception of the game: which was a circumscribed and specific human 
activity defined in opposition to other powers and other forces (reality, utility, 
work, the sacred...). In this connection, Jacques Ehrmann has recently analyzed 
all the postulates of this traditional conception that tries to define the game in 
isolation from reality, culture, and seriousness. 17 To this compartmentalization is 



opposed Fink's attempt: he shows how the Game spreads through the universe, 
interferes with it, and to the extent that one moves away from the metaphysical 
interpretation that devalues and isolates games and toward the mythical inter- 
pretation of the game as a relation with the world, one finally reaches the Game 
as being, totally of the world and without a player. 18 Ax elos undoubtedly accepts 
this distinction between games played, play in the world, and the games of the 
world. But Axelos gives it the turn that he does to all Heideggerian concepts, 
where the world gives way to the planetary, the "rational" to strategy, being and 
truth to errancy. Axelos is to Heidegger what a kind of zen is to the Buddha. Axe- 
los does not start from the game of humanity (phenomenologically) to see 
humanity able to symbolize the game of the world (ontologically). He starts from 
a dialogue, from a game called planetary that already connects play of humanity 
and play of the world. Axelos gives full force to this phrase: It plays, without play- 
ers. With Axelos, the overcoming of metaphysics rediscovers the sense that Jarry 
had given it in accordance with the etymology, pataphysics, the planetary gesture 
of Dr. Faustroll, from where the salvation of philosophy can now come. 


Hume 1 

The Significance of Empiricism 

The history of philosophy has pretty much absorbed and digested empiricism, 
which has been traditionally defined as the reverse of rationalism: yes or no, is 
there within ideas something not in the senses or sense-data? The history of phi- 
losophy has made empiricism a critique of the a priori and innate ideas. But 
empiricism has always held other secrets. And it is these which Hume brings to 
light and develops to the utmost in his extremely subtle and difficult work. Thus 
Hume has a peculiar place in the history of philosophy. His empiricism is, so to 
speak, a kind of universe of science fiction: as in science fiction, the world seems 
fictional, strange, foreign, experienced by other creatures; but we get the feeling 
that this world is our own, and we are the creatures. At the same time, science or 
theory undergoes a conversion: theory becomes inquiry (this conception origi- 
nates with Bacon; recalling this conception, Kant will transform and rationalize 
it when he conceives of theory as a tribunal). Science or theory is an inquiry, in 
other words, a practice: a practice of the apparently fictitious world described by 
empiricism, a study of the conditions of legitimacy of the practices in this our 
empirical world. This is the great conversion of theory into practice. History of 
philosophy manuals will misunderstand what they call "associationism" when 
they see in it a theory, in the ordinary sense of the word, and something like 
rationalism stood on its head. Hume asks some bizarre questions which seem 
somehow familiar to us: to take possession of an abandoned city is it enough to 
throw one's spear against the gate, or do you have to touch it with your hand? 
Just how far can we possess the seas? Why in a system of justice is the soil more 
important than the surface? But then why is the paint more important than the 
canvas? Only here does the problem of association take on its full implications. 



What is called the theory of association locates its destination and its truth in a 
casuistry of relations, in a practice of law, politics, and economy, which com- 
pletely changes the nature of philosophical reflection. 

The Nature of Relation 

Hume's originality, one aspect of his originality, derives from the force with 
which he affirms: relations are exterior to their terms. Such a thesis can be 
understood only in opposition to the tireless effort by rationalist philosophers 
to resolve the paradox of relations: either a means is found to make the rela- 
tion internal to the terms, or a more profound and inclusive term is 
discovered to which the relation is already internal. Peter is smaller than Paul: 
how does one make this relation internal to Peter or Paul? Or to their con- 
cept? Or to the whole they compose? Or to the Idea in which they 
participate? How does one overcome the irreducible exteriority of their rela- 
tion? Certainly empiricism had always militated for the exteriority of 
relations, but in a certain way, its position on this topic was occluded by the 
problem of the origin of knowledge or ideas: everything had to have its ori- 
gin in sense-data, and in the operations of the mind on these sense-data. 
Hume effects an inversion that will take empiricism to a higher power: if 
ideas contain nothing else, and nothing more, than what there is in sense 
impressions, this is precisely because the relations are heterogeneous and exte- 
rior to their terms, impressions, or ideas. The difference, therefore, is not 
between ideas and impressions, but between two kinds of impressions or 
ideas: the impressions or ideas of terms and the impressions or ideas of rela- 
tions. Now the empiricist world can for the first time truly unfold in all its 
extension: a world of exteriority, a world where thought itself is in a funda- 
mental relation to the Outside, a world where terms exist like veritable atoms, 
and relations like veritable external bridges — a world where the conjunction 
"and" dethrones the interiority of the verb "is," a Harlequin world of colored 
patterns and non-totalizable fragments, where one communicates via external 
relations. Hume's thought is founded on a dual register: atomism, which 
explains how ideas or sense impressions refer to discrete minima that produce 
space and time; associationism, which explains how relations are established 
between these terms, relations which are always external to them and depend 
on other principles. On the one hand, a physics of the mind; on the other, a 
logic of relations. Hume deserves the credit for breaking the bonds imposed 
by the form of the judgment of attribution, for making possible an 
autonomous logic of relations, and discovering a conjunctive world of atoms 
and relations, whose ulterior development can be seen in Russell and modern 
logic — relations are, after all, conjunctions themselves. 



Human Nature 

What is a relation? It is what allows a passage from a given impression or idea to 
the idea of something not presently given. For example, I think of something 
"similar"... When I see Peter's portrait, I think of Peter who is absent. In vain 
would we search in the given term for the rationale of the passage. Relation is 
itself the effect of so-called principles of association: contiguity, resemblance, and 
causality, which indeed constitute human nature. Human nature means that 
which is universal or constant in the human mind. It is never this or that idea as 
a term, but merely ways of proceeding from one particular idea to another. In 
this sense, Hume will engage in the concerted destruction of three great limit- 
ideas in metaphysics: the Self, the World, and God. At first blush, however, 
Hume's thesis looks disappointing: what is the advantage of explaining relations 
by principles of human nature, principles of association that appear to be just 
another name to designate such relations? But we are disappointed only to the 
extent that we misunderstand the problem. The problem is not one of causes, 
but the functioning of relations as the effects of these causes, and the practical 
conditions of this functioning. 

Let's look at a special relation in this regard: the relation of cause. This rela- 
tion is special because it not only allows the passage from a given term to the idea 
of something that is not presently given; but causality also allows the passage from 
something given to what has never been given, even something unable to be given 
in experience. For example, given signs in a book, I believe that Caesar lived. 
Watching the sun come up, I say that it will come up again tomorrow; having 
observed that water boils at 100° C, I say that it will necessarily do so at 100° C. 
But expressions such as "always," "tomorrow," or "necessarily" express something 
unable to be given in experience: tomorrow is not given without becoming today, 
without ceasing to be tomorrow, and every experience is of a contingent particu- 
lar. In other words, causality is a relation according to which I go beyond what is 
given, I say more than what is given or able to be given — in short, / infer and I 
believe, I await, I expect... What is essential here is this initial displacement which 
Hume effects, positing belief as the basis and principle of knowledge. This func- 
tioning of causal relation is explained in the following way: similar observable 
cases (every time I have seen A followed or accompanied by B) are fused in the 
imagination, whereas they remain separate and distinct from one another in the 
understanding. This property of fusion in the imagination constitutes habit (I 
expect), while the distinction in the understanding calculates belief in proportion 
to those cases that have been observed (probability as a calculation of the degrees 
of belief). The principle of habit, as fusion of similar cases in the imagination, and 
the principle of experience, as observation of distinct cases in the understanding, 
thus combine to produce both relation and the inference following on relation 
(belief), according to which causality functions. 




Fiction and nature have a particular distribution in the empiricist world. Left to 
itself, the mind does not lack the power to pass from one idea to another, but 
indeed does so haphazardly, in a delirium that goes through the universe dream- 
ing up fire-breathing dragons, winged horses, giants, and other monstrosities. 
On the other hand, the principles of human nature impose on this delirium 
unchanging rules as laws of passage, transition, and inference, in accordance with 
Nature itself. From this point on, however, a strange battle ensues. Because if it 
is true that the principles of association determine the mind by imposing on it a 
nature to discipline its delirium or fictions of the imagination, conversely the 
imagination uses these same principles to pass off its fictions and fantasies as real, 
lending them a surety they would not otherwise have. In this sense, what is prop- 
er to fiction is feigning the relations themselves, inducing Active relations, and 
making us believe in tales of madness. We see this not only in the imagination's 
gift for doubling presenr relations with other relations that do not exist in a par- 
ticular case, but especially where causality is concerned; the imagination forges 
Active causal chains, illegitimate rules, simulacra of belief. Either it confuses the 
accidental with the essential, or it uses the properties of language (i.e. surpassing 
experience) to substitute for the repetition of similar cases that have been actual- 
ly observed, a simple verbal repetition that mimics the effect. The liar comes in 
this way to believe his lies by repeating them. And education, superstition, elo- 
quence, and poetry all work in the same way. It is no longer on the path of 
science that we go beyond experience, confirmed by Nature itself and a corre- 
sponding calculation; we go beyond it always and everywhere in our delirium, 
which dreams up a counter-nature and ensures the fusion of anything whatsoev- 
er. The imagination uses the principles of association to redirect these principles 
themselves, giving them an illegitimate extension. Hume is here effecting a sec- 
ond major displacement in philosophy: for the traditional concept of error he 
substitutes the concept of illusion or delirium, according to which there are not 
false but illegitimate beliefs, illegitimate operations of the faculties, and illegiti- 
mate functionings of relations. In this respect, Kant once again owes something 
essential to Hume. We're not threatened by error. It's much worse: we're swim- 
ming in delirium. 

Still, it's not so bad that the fictions of the imagination turn the principles of 
human nature against themselves, as long as it's under conditions that can always 
be corrected: so in the case of causality, an unforgiving calculation of probabili- 
ties can expose feigned relations or delirious fantasies that go beyond experience. 
But the illusion is particularly more serious when it belongs to human nature, 
that is, when the illegitimate operation or belief is incorrigible, inseparable from 
legitimate beliefs, and indispensable to their organization. Now the fanciful use 
of the principles of human nature become themselves a principle. Delirium and 



fiction come over to the side of human nature. This is what Hume will demon- 
strate in his most subtle, most difficult analyses of ideas of the Self, the World, 
and God: how positing a distinct and continuous existence of bodies, and how 
positing an identity of the self introduce all kinds of Active functionings of rela- 
tions, especially a Active causality, under conditions where no fiction may be 
corrected, driving us rather from one fiction to another, all of which belong to 
human nature. Hume, in the posthumous Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, 
which may be his masterpiece, applies the same critical method not only to 
revealed religion, but to so-called natural religion and the teleological arguments 
on which it is based. Never has Hume's sense of humor reached such heights: the 
more illegitimate these beliefs are from the point of view of the principles of 
human nature, the more completely they belong to our nature. Certainly now 
we're in a position to understand the complex notion of modern skepticism as 
Hume practices it. Contrary to ancient skepticism, founded on the variety of 
sensory appearances and the errors of the senses, modern skepticism is founded 
on the status of relations and their exteriority. The first act of modern skepticism 
is discovering belief at the basis of knowledge, that is, naturalizing belief (posi- 
tivism). From then on, the second act is exposing illegitimate beliefs as those 
which do not obey rules effectively productive of knowledge (probabilism, the 
calculation of probabilities). The third act gives it a final touch: the illegitimate 
beliefs in the World, the Self, and God appear as the horizon of every possible 
legitimate belief, or as the lowest degree of belief. Because if everything is belief, 
everything is a question of the degrees of belief, even the delirium of non-under- 
standing. The virtue of Hume's modern skepticism is humor — as against irony, 
the ancient dogmatic virtue of Socrates and Plato. 

The Imagination 

Now if the inquiry into the understanding has skepticism as its principle and 
result, and if it leads to an inextricable mixture of fiction and human nature, 
this is perhaps because it is only part of the inquiry, not even its principal part. 
The principles of association indeed make sense only in relation to the pas- 
sions. Not only do affective circumstances direct the association of ideas, but 
the relations themselves are assigned a sense, a direction, an irreversibility, and 
an exclusivity according to the passions. In a word, what constitutes human 
nature, and what gives the mind its nature or consistency are not only the prin- 
ciples of association whence derive relations, but also the principles of passion 
whence derive our "inclinations." We have to keep two things in mind here: on 
the one hand, the passions do not determine the mind, do not impart a nature 
to the mind in the same way the principles of association do; and on the other 
hand, the essence of the mind as delirium or fiction does not react to the pas- 
sions in the same way it reacts to relations. 



We saw how the principles of association, especially causality, compel the 
mind to go beyond what is given, inspiring it with beliefs or fanciful notions not 
all of which are legitimate. The effect of the passions, however, is to restrict the 
range of the mind and attach it to privileged ideas and objects. In fact, the 
essence of passion is not egoism — it's worse: partiality. We have strong feelings 
about our parents, siblings, and friends (restricted causality, contiguity, and 
resemblance). And this is much worse than if we were governed by egoism. To 
make society possible, egoism would only have to be limited. In this sense, the 
celebrated theories of the contract, from the sixteenth- to the eighteenth-centu- 
ry, have posed the social problem ideally as the limitation of natural rights, or 
even a renunciation of them, whence arises the contractual society. But when 
Hume says that humans are not naturally egoist, but naturally partial, we 
mustn't see this as a simple nuance of wording. It is a radical change in the prac- 
tical positing of the social problem. The problem is no longer: how do we limit 
egoism and its corresponding natural rights? The problem is now: how do we go 
beyond partiality? How do we go from "limited sympathy" to an "extended gen- 
erosity"? How do we extend the passions, give them an extension that they do 
not have of themselves? Society is no longer conceived as a system of legal and 
contractual limitations, but as an institutional invention: How do we invent arti- 
fices, create institutions that force the passions to go beyond their partiality, 
producing moral, juridical, and political feelings (for example, the feeling of jus- 
tice)? Whence you have the opposition that Hume establishes between the 
contract and the convention or artifice. Hume is certainly the first to break with 
the restrictive model of contract and law that still dominates the sociology of the 
eighteenth-century. He proposes instead the positive model of artifice and insti- 
tution. Consequently, the whole problem of humanity has been displaced: it is 
no longer a question, as it is in understanding, of the complex relationship 
between fiction and human nature, but between human nature and artifice 
(humankind as an inventive species). 

The Passions 

In the understanding, the principles of human nature themselves established the 
rules for extending or going beyond the given, which the imagination used to 
pass off simulacra of belief as legitimate: consequently, a calculation was con- 
stantly necessary as a correction, to distinguish the legitimate from the 
illegitimate. With the passions, however, the problem is different: how can we 
invent the artificial extension that goes beyond the partiality of human nature? 
Here fiction or fantasy takes on a new sense. As Hume says, the mind or the 
imagination does not function, in relation to the passions, like a wind instru- 
ment, but like a percussion instrument "where after each stroke the vibrations 
still retain some sound, which gradually and insensibly decays." 2 In short, what 



is proper to the imagination is reflecting the passions, making them resonate, and 
causing them to go beyond the limits of their natural partiality and presentness. 
Hume shows how esthetic and moral feelings come about: the passions reflected 
in the imagination become those of the imagination. By reflecting the passions, 
the imagination liberates them, stretches them very thin, and projects them 
beyond their natural limits. In one respect, however, the percussion metaphor 
must be revised: as they resonate in the imagination, the passions are not content 
to become gradually less present and less intense; they completely change their 
color and their tone, much the same way the sadness of a represented passion in 
tragedy changes into the pleasure of an almost infinite play of the imagination. 
The passions acquire a new nature and are attended by a new kind of belief. Thus 
the will "seems to move easily every way, and casts a shadow or image of itself 
even to that side on which it did not settle." ' 

What constitutes the world of artifice or culture is precisely this resonance, 
this reflection of the passions in the imagination, and it is what make culture at 
once the most frivolous and most serious of worlds. But there are two defects to 
be avoided in these cultural formations: on the one hand, extended passions that 
are less intense than actual passions, even if they are of another nature; and on 
the other, passions that are indeterminate, projecting their fainter images in every 
direction independently of any rule. The first defect finds its solution in the gov- 
erning bodies of social power, in the apparatuses of permission, reward and 
punishment, which lend to amplified feelings or reflected passions a supplemen- 
tary degree of intensity or belief: primarily the governement, but also more 
subterranean and implicit authorities such as custom and taste — once again, we 
see Hume is one of the first to have posed the problem ofpower and government 
in terms of credibility, not representivity. 

As for the second defect, it also involves the way in which Hume's philoso- 
phy forms a general system. Because if the passions are reflected in the 
imagination, it is not in some bare imagination, but an imagination as it is 
already determined or naturalized by the principles of association. Resemblance, 
contiguity, and causality — in a word, any and all relations that are the object of 
understanding or calculation — furnish general rules to determine reflected feel- 
ings, beyond the immediate and restricted use that the non-reflected passions 
make of them. So the esthetic feelings discover genuine rules of taste in the prin- 
ciples of association. Most importantly, Hume explains in detail how the 
passions of possession, being reflected in the imagination, find in the principles 
of association the means to determine general rules that constitute the factors at 
work in property or the world of law. There is a whole study of the variations of 
relations, a whole calculus of relations, that allows a response in each case to the 
question: does there exist between this person and that object such a relation as 
to make us believe (to make the imagination believe) that one belongs to the 
other? "A person who has hunted a hare to the last degree of weariness would 



look upon it as an injustice for another to rush in before him and seize his prey. 
But the same person, advancing to pluck an apple that hangs within his reach, 
has no reason to complain if another, more alert, passes him and takes posses- 
sion. What is the reason of this difference, but that immobility, not being natural 
to the hare, but the effect of industry, forms in that case a strong relation with 
the hunter, which is wanting in the other?" 4 Does a spear thrown against the gate 
suffice to ensure ownership of an abandoned city, or do you have to touch it with 
your hand to establish a sufficient relation? Why in civil law does the soil have 
priority over the surface, but the paint over the canvas, whereas the paper has it 
over writing? The principles of association find their true sense in a casuistry of 
relations that determine the last detail of the world of culture and law. And this 
is indeed the genuine object of Hume's philosophy: relations as the means of an 
activity, a practice at once juridical, economic, and political. 

A Philosophy both Popular and Scientific 

Hume is a rather precocious philosopher: he was about twenty-five years old 
when he wrote his masterpiece A Treatise of Human Nature (published in 1739 — 
1740). A new tone in philosophy, an extraordinary simplicity and concreteness, 
emerges from a great complexity of arguments, which simultaneously bring in 
the use of fictions, the science of human nature, and the practice of artifices. A 
kind of philosophy that is popular and scientific: a pop-philosophy Its ideal? A 
decisive clarity, which is not the clarity of ideas, but that which comes from rela- 
tions and operations. It is clarity that he will attempt to work more and more 
into his later books, even though it means giving up some of the complexity, and 
renouncing what was thought too difficult in his Treatise: Essays, Moral and Polit- 
ical (1742), An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748), An Enquiry 
concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) and Political Discourses (1752). Then he 
will try his hand at The History of Great Britain (1754-1762). The admirable 
Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, appearing after Hume's death in 1779, 
find him again more complex and more clear. This is perhaps the only example 
of a genuine dialogue in philosophy because there are not only two, but three 
characters. And they don't have univocal roles: they form provisional alliances, 
break them off, seek reconciliation, etc. Demea is the advocate of revealed reli- 
gion; Cleanthes, of natural religion; and Philon is the skeptic. The sense of 
humor of Hume-Philon is not only a way of getting everyone to agree, in the 
name of a skepticism that assigns "degrees" of belief, but it is already a rupture, 
breaking with the dominant currents of the eighteenth-century, to prefigure a 
future philosophy 


How Do We Recognize Structuralism? 1 

Not long ago we used to ask: What is existentialism? Now we ask: What is 
structuralism? These questions are of keen interest, provided they are timely 
and have some bearing on work actually in progress. This is 1967. Thus we 
cannot invoke the unfinished character of such work to avoid a reply, for it is 
that character alone which gives the question its significance. So, the question 
What is structuralism? must undergo certain transformations. In the first place, 
who is a structuralist? In the current climate, rightly or wrongly, it is custom- 
ary to name names [designer], to provide 'samples' [echantillonner]: a linguist 
like Roman Jakobson; a sociologist like Claude Levi-Strauss; a psychoanalyst 
like Jacques Lacan; a philosopher like Michel Foucault, renewing epistemolo- 
gy; a Marxist philosopher like Louis Althusser, once again taking up the 
problem of the interpretation of Marxism; a literary critic like Roland Barthes; 
writers like those from Tel Quel... Of these, some do not reject the word "struc- 
turalism," and use "structure," "structural." Others prefer the Saussurean term 
"system." These are all very different kinds of thinkers, and from different gen- 
erations, and some have exercised a real influence on their contemporaries. But 
more import is the extreme diversity of the domains they explore. Each of 
them discovers problems, methods, solutions that are analogically related, as if 
sharing in a free atmosphere or spirit of the time, but one that distributes itself 
into singular creations and discoveries in each of these domains. — Ism words, 
in this sense, are perfectly justified. 

There is good reason to ascribe the origin of structuralism to linguistics: 
not only Saussure, but the Moscow and Prague schools. And if structuralism 
then migrates to other domains, this occurs without it being a question of anal- 
ogy, nor merely in order to establish methods "equivalent" to those that first 
succeeded for the analysis of language. In fact, language is the only thing that 
can properly be said to have structure, be it an esoteric or even non-verbal lan- 



guage. There is a structure of the unconscious only to the extent that the 
unconscious speaks and is language. There is a structure of bodies only to the 
extent that bodies are supposed to speak with a language which is one of the 
symptoms. Even things possess a structure only in so far as they maintain a 
silent discourse, which is the language of signs. So the question What is struc- 
turalism? is further transformed — it is better to ask: What do we recognize in 
those that we call structuralists? And what do they themselves recognize? — 
since one does not recognize people, in a visible manner, except by the invisible 
and imperceptible things they themselves recognize in their own way. How do 
the structuralists go about recognizing a language in something, the language 
proper to a domain? What do they discover in this domain? We thus propose 
only to discern certain formal criteria of recognition, the simplest ones, by 
invoking in each case the example of cited authors, whatever the diversity of 
their works and projects. 

I. First Criterion: The Symbolic 

We are used to, almost conditioned to a certain distinction or correlation 
between the real and the imaginary. All of our thought maintains a dialectical 
play between these two notions. Even when classical philosophy speaks of pure 
intelligence or understanding, it is still a matter of a faculty defined by its apti- 
tude to grasp the depths of the real (le reel en sonfond), the real "in truth," the 
real as such, in opposition to, but also in relation to the power of imagination. 
Let us cite some creative movements that are quite different: Romanticism, 
Symbolism, Surrealism... In doing so, we invoke at once the transcendent 
point where the real and the imaginary interpenetrate and unite, and their 
sharp border, like the cutting edge of their difference. In any case, we get no 
farther than the opposition and complementarity of the imaginary and the 
real — at least in the traditional interpretation of Romanticism, Symbolism, etc. 
Even Freudianism is interpreted from the perspective of two principles: the 
reality principle with its power to disappoint, the pleasure principle with its 
hallucinatory power of satisfaction. With all the more reason, methods like 
those of Jung and Bachelard are wholly inscribed within the real and the imag- 
inary, within the frame of their complex relations, transcendent unity and 
liminary tension, fusion and cutting edge. 

The first criterion of structuralism, however, is the discovery and recogni- 
tion of a third order, a third regime: that of the symbolic. The refusal to 
confuse the symbolic with the imaginary, as much as with the real, constitutes 
the first dimension of structuralism. In this case again, everything began with 
linguistics: beyond the word in its reality and its resonant parts, beyond images 
and concepts associated with words, the structuralist linguist discovers an ele- 
ment of quite another nature, a structural object. And perhaps it is in this 



symbolic element that the novelists of Tel Quel wish to locate themselves, in 
order to renew the resonant realities as well as the associated narratives. Beyond 
the history of men, and the history of ideas, Michel Foucault discovers a deep- 
er, subterranean ground that forms the object of what he calls the archaeology 
of thought. Behind real men and their real relations, behind ideologies and 
their imaginary relations, Louis Althusser discovers a deeper domain as object 
of science and of philosophy. 

We already had many fathers in psychoanalysis: first of all, a real father, 
but also father-images. And all our dramas occurred in the strained relations 
of the real and the imaginary. Jacques Lacan discovers a third, more funda- 
mental father, a symbolic father or Name-of-the-Father. Not just the real and 
the imaginary, but their relations, and the disturbances of these relations, 
must be thought as the limit of a process in which they constitute themselves 
in relation to the symbolic. In Lacan's work, in the work of other structural- 
ists as well, the symbolic as element of the structure constitutes the principle 
of a genesis: structure is incarnated in realities and images according to deter- 
minable series. Moreover, the structure constitutes series by incarnating itself, 
but is not derived from them since it is deeper, being the substratum both for 
the strata of the real and for the heights [dels] of imagination. Conversely, cat- 
astrophes that are proper to the symbolic structural order take into account 
the apparent disturbances of the real and the imaginary: thus, in the case of 
The Wolf Man as Lacan interprets it, the theme of castration reappears in the 
real since it remains non-symbolized ("foreclosure"), in the hallucinatory form 
of the cut finger. 2 

We can enumerate the real, the imaginary, and the symbolic: 1, 2, 3. But 
perhaps these numerals have as much an ordinal as a cardinal value. For the 
real in itself is not separable from a certain ideal of unification or of totaliza- 
tion: the real tends towards one, it is one in its "truth." As soon as we see two 
in "one," as soon as we make doubles [de'doublons], the imaginary appears in 
person, even if it is in the real that its action is carried out. For example, the 
real father is one, or wants to be according to his law; but the image of the 
father is always double in itself, cleaved according to a law of the dual or duel. 
It is projected onto two persons at least, one assuming the role of the play- 
father, the father-buffoon, and the other, the role of the working and ideal 
father: like the Prince of Wales in Shakespeare, who passes from one father 
image to the other, from Falstaff to the Crown. The imaginary is defined by 
games of mirroring, of duplication, of reversed identification and projection, 
always in the mode of the double. 5 But perhaps, in turn, the symbolic is three, 
and not merely the third beyond the real and the imaginary. There is always 
a third to be sought in the symbolic itself; structure is at least triadic, with- 
out which it would not "circulate" — a third at once unreal, and yet not 



We will see why later; but already the first criterion consists of this: the 
positing of a symbolic order, irreducible to the orders of the real and the imag- 
inary, and deeper than they are. We do not yet know what this symbolic 
element consists of. We can say at least that the corresponding structure has no 
relationship with a sensible form, nor with a figure of the imagination, nor 
with an intelligible essence. It has nothing to do with aform: for structure is 
not at all defined by an autonomy of the whole, by a preeminence [pregnance] 
of the whole over its parts, by a Gestalt which would operate in the real and in 
perception. Structure is defined, on the contrary, by the nature of certain 
atomic elements which claim to account both for the formation of wholes and 
for the variation of their parts. It has nothing to do with figures of the imagi- 
nation, although structuralism is riddled with reflections on rhetoric, 
metaphor and metonymy, for these figures themselves imply structural dis- 
placements which must account for both the literal and the figurative. Nor has 
it has anything to do with an essence: it is more a combinatory formula [une 
combinatoire] supporting formal elements which by themselves have neither 
form, nor signification, nor representation, nor content, nor given empirical 
reality, nor hypothetical functional model, nor intelligibility behind appear- 
ances. No one has better determined the status of the structure as identical to 
the "Theory" itself than Louis Althusser — and the symbolic must be under- 
stood as the production of the original and specific theoretical object. 

Sometimes structuralism is aggressive, as when it denounces the general mis- 
understanding of this ultimate symbolic category, beyond the imaginary and the 
real. Sometimes it is interpretative, as when it renews our interpretation of works 
in relation to this category, and claims to discover an original point at which lan- 
guage is constituted, in which works elaborate themselves, and where ideas and 
actions are bound together. Romanticism and Symbolism, but also Freudianism 
and Marxism, thus become the objects of profound reinterpretations. Not to 
mention the mythical, poetic, philosophical, or practical works which themselves 
are subjected to structural interpretation. But this reinterpretation only has value 
to the extent that it animates new works which are those of today, as if the sym- 
bolic were the source, inseparably, of living interpretation and creation. 

II. Second Criterion: Local or Positional 

What does the symbolic element of the structure consist of? We sense the need 
to go slowly, to state repeatedly, first of all, what it is not. Distinct from the 
real and the imaginary, the symbolic cannot be defined either by pre-existing 
realities to which it would refer and which it would designate, or by the imag- 
inary or conceptual contents which it would implicate, and which would give 
it a signification. The elements of a structure have neither extrinsic designa- 
tion, nor intrinsic signification. Then what is left? As Levi-Strauss recalls 



rigorously, they have nothing other than a sense [sens = meaning and direction]: 
a sense which is necessarily and uniquely "positional."" 

It is not a matter of a location in a real spatial expanse, nor of sites in imag- 
inary extensions, but rather of places and sites in a properly structural space, 
that is, a topological space. Space is what is structural, but an unextended, pre- 
extensive space, pure spatium constituted bit by bit as an order of proximity, in 
which the notion of proximity first of all has precisely an ordinal sense and not 
a signification in extension. 5 Or take genetic biology: the genes are part of a 
structure to the extent that they are inseparable from "loci," sites capable of 
changing their relation within the chromosome. In short, places in a purely 
structural space are primary in relation to the things and real beings which 
come to occupy them, primary also in relation to the always somewhat imagi- 
nary roles and events which necessarily appear when they are occupied. 

The scientific ambition of structuralism is not quantitative, but topologi- 
cal and relational, a principal that Levi-Strauss constantly reaffirms. And when 
Althusser speaks of economic structure, he specifies that the true "subjects" 
there are not those who come to occupy the places, i.e. concrete individuals or 
real human beings — no more than the true objects are the roles that they ful- 
fill and the events that are produced. Rather, these "subjects" are above all the 
places in a topological and structural space defined by relations of production. 6 
When Foucault defines determinations such as death, desire, work, or play, he 
does not consider them as dimensions of empirical human existence, but above 
all as the qualifications of places and positions which will render those who 
come to occupy them mortal and dying, or desiring, or workman-like, or play- 
ful. These, however, only come to occupy the places and positions secondarily, 
fulfilling their roles according to an order of proximity that is an order of the 
structure itself. That is why Foucault can propose a new distribution of the 
empirical and the transcendental, the latter finding itself defined by an order 
of places independently of those who occupy them empirically 7 Structuralism 
cannot be separated from a new transcendental philosophy, in which the sites 
prevail over whatever occupies them. Father, mother, etc., are first of all sites 
in a structure; and if we are mortal, it is by moving into the line, by coming to 
a particular site, marked in the structure following this topological order of 
proximities (even when we do so ahead of our turn). 

"It is not only the subject," says Lacan, "but subjects grasped in their inter- 
subjectivity, who line up... and who model their very being on the moment of 
the signifying chain which traverses them... The displacement of the signifier 
determines subjects in their acts, in their destiny, in their refusals, in their 
blindnesses, in their conquests and in their fate, their innate gifts and social 
acquisition notwithstanding, without regard for character or sex..." 8 One could 
not say more clearly that empirical psychology is not only founded, but deter- 
mined by a transcendental topology. 



Several consequences follow from this local or positional criterion. First of 
all, if the symbolic elements have no extrinsic designation nor intrinsic signifi- 
cation, but only a positional sense, it follows necessarily and by rights that sense 
always results from the combination of elements which are not themselves signify- 
ing? As Levi-Strauss says in his discussion with Paul Ricoeur, sense is always a 
result, an effect: not merely an effect like a product, but an optical effect, a lan- 
guage effect, a positional effect. There is, profoundly, a nonsense of sense, from 
which sense itself results. Not that we return in this way to what was once 
called a philosophy of the absurd since, for such a philosophy, sense itself is 
lacking, essentially. For structuralism, on the other hand, there is always too 
much sense, an overproduction, an over-determination of sense, always pro- 
duced in excess by the combination of places in the structure. (Hence the 
importance, in Althusser's work for example, of the concept of over-determina- 
tion* Nonsense is not at all the absurd or the opposite of sense, but rather 
that which gives value to sense and produces it by circulating in the structure. 
Structuralism owes nothing to Albert Camus, but much to Lewis Carroll." 

The second consequence is structuralism's inclination for certain games 
and a certain kind of theatre, for certain play and theatrical spaces. It is no acci- 
dent that Levi-Strauss often refers to the theory of games, and accords such 
importance to playing cards. As does Lacan to his game metaphors which are 
more than metaphors: not only the moving object [lefuret, literally the ferret; 
or, moving token in the jeu de furet, the game of hunt-the-slipper] which darts 
around the structure, but also the dummy-hand [la place du mort] that circu- 
lates in bridge. The noblest games such as chess are those that organize a 
combinatory system of places in a pure spatium infinitely deeper than the real 
extension of the chessboard and the imaginary extension of each piece. Or 
when Althusser interrupts his commentary on Marx to talk about theatre, but 
a theatre that is neither of reality nor of ideas, a pure theatre of places and posi- 
tions, the principle of which he sees in Brecht, 12 and that would today perhaps 
find its most extreme expression in Armand Gatti's work. In short, the very 
manifesto of structuralism must be sought in the famous formula, eminently 
poetic and theatrical: to think is to cast a throw of the dice [penser, c'est e'met- 
tre un coup de des]. 

The third consequence is that structuralism is inseparable from a new 
materialism, a new atheism, a new anti-humanism. For if the place is primary 
in relation to whatever occupies it, it certainly will not do to replace God with 
man in order to change the structure. And if this place is the dummy-hand [la 
place du mort, i.e. the dead man's place], the death of God surely means the 
death of man as well, in favor, we hope, of something yet to come, but which 
could only come within the structure and through its mutation. This is how 
we understand the imaginary character of man for Foucault or the ideological 
character of humanism for Althusser. 



III. Third Criterion: The Differential and the Singular 

What then do these symbolic elements or units of position finally consist of? Let 
us return to the linguistic model. What is distinct both from the voiced elements, 
and the associated concepts and images, is called a phoneme, the smallest lin- 
guistic unit capable of differentiating two words of diverse meanings: for 
example, "Millard" [billiard] and "/>illard" [pillager]. It is clear that the phoneme 
is embodied in letters, syllables and sounds, but that it is not reducible to them. 
Moreover, letters, syllables and sounds give it an independence, whereas in itself, 
the phoneme is inseparable from the phonemic relation which unites it to other 
phonemes: b / p. Phonemes do not exist independently of the relations into 
which they enter and through which they reciprocally determine each other. 14 

We can distinguish three types of relation. A first type is established between 
elements which enjoy independence or autonomy: for example, 3 + 2, or even 2 
/ 3. The elements are real, and these relations must themselves be said to be real. 
A second type of relationship, for example, x2 + y2 - R2 = 0, is established 
between terms for which the value is not specified, but which in each case, how- 
ever, must have a determined value. Such relations can be called imaginary. But 
the third type is established between elements which have no determined value 
themselves, and which nevertheless determine each other reciprocally in the rela- 
tion: thus ydy + xdx = 0, or dy-/ dx = - x/y. Such relationships are symbolic, and 
the corresponding elements are held in a differential relationship. Dy is totally 
undetermined in relation to y, and dx is totally undetermined in relation to x: 
each one has neither existence, nor value, nor signification. And yet the relation 
dy/dx is totally determined, the two elements determining each other recipro- 
cally in the relation. 15 This process of a reciprocal determination is at the heart of 
a relationship that allows one to define the symbolic nature. Sometimes the ori- 
gins of structuralism are sought in the area of axiomatics, and it is true that 
Bourbaki, for example, uses the word "structure." But this use, it seems to me, is 
in a very different sense, that of relations between non-specified elements, not 
even qualitatively specified, whereas in structuralism, elements specify each other 
reciprocally in relations. In this sense, axiomatics would still be imaginary, not 
symbolic properly speaking. The mathematical origin of structuralism must be 
sought rather in the domain of differential calculus, specifically in the interpre- 
tation which Weierstrass and Russell gave to it, a static and ordinal interpretation, 
which definitively liberates calculus from all reference to the infinitely small, and 
integrates it into a pure logic of relations. 

Corresponding to the determination of differential relations are singularities, 
distributions of singular points which characterize curves or figures (a triangle for 
example has three singular points). In this way, the determination of phonemic 
relations proper to a given language ascribes singularities in proximity to which 
the vocalizations and significations of the language are constituted. The recipro- 



cal determination of symbolic elements continues henceforth into the complete 
determination of singular points that constitute a space corresponding to these 
elements. The crucial notion of singularity, taken literally, seems to belong to all 
the domains in which there is structure. The general formula, "to think is to cast 
a throw of the dice," itself refers to the singularities represented by the sharply 
outlined points on the dice. Every structure presents the following two aspects: 
a system of differential relations according to which the symbolic elements deter- 
mine themselves reciprocally, and a system of singularities corresponding to these 
relations and tracing the space of the structure. Every structure is a multiplicity. 
The question, "Is there structure in any domain whatsoever?," must be specified 
in the following way: in a given domain, can one uncover symbolic elements, dif- 
ferential relations and singular points which are proper to it? Symbolic elements 
are incarnated in the real beings and objects of the domain considered; the dif- 
ferential relations are actualized in real relations between these beings; the 
singularities are so many places in the structure, which distributes the imaginary 
attitudes or roles of the beings or objects that come to occupy them. 16 

It is not a matter of mathematical metaphors. In each domain, one must find 
elements, relationships and points. When Levi-Strauss undertakes the study of 
elementary kinship structures, he not only considers the real fathers in a society, 
nor only the father-images that run through the myths of that society. He claims 
to discover real kinship phonemes, that is, kin-emes [parentemes], positional units 
which do not exist independently of the differential relations into which they 
enter and that determine each other reciprocally. It is in this way that the four 
relations — brother / sister, husband / wife, father / son, maternal uncle / sister's 
son — form the simplest structure. And to this combinatory system of "kinship 
names" correspond in a complex way, but without resembling them, the "kinship 
attitudes" that realize the singularities determined in the system. One could just 
as well proceed in the opposite manner: start from singularities in order to deter- 
mine the differential relations between ultimate symbolic elements. Thus, taking 
the example ofthe Oedipus myth, Levi-Strauss starts from the singularities of the 
story (Oedipus marries his mother, kills his father, immolates the Sphinx, is 
named club-foot, etc.) in order to infer from them the differential relations 
between "mythemes" which are determined reciprocally (overestimation of kin- 
ship relations, underestimation of kinship relations, negation of aboriginality, 
persistence of aboriginality). 17 In any case, the symbolic elements and their rela- 
tions always determine the nature ofthe beings and objects which come to realize 
them, while the singularities form an order of positions that simultaneously 
determines the roles and the attitudes of these beings in so far as they occupy 
them. The determination of the structure is therefore completed in a theory of 
attitudes which explains its functioning. 

Singularities correspond with the symbolic elements and their relations, but 
do not resemble them. One could say, rather, that singularities "symbolize" with 



them, derive from them, since every determination of differential relations 
entails a distribution of singular points. Yet, for example: the values of differen- 
tial relations are incarnated in species, whereas singularities are incarnated in the 
organic parts corresponding to each species. The former constitute variables, the 
latter constitute functions. The former constitute within a structure the domain 
of appellations, the latter the domain of attitudes." 1 Levi-Strauss insisted on this 
double aspect — derived, yet irreducible — of attitudes in relation to appella- 
tions. 19 A disciple of Lacan, Serge Leclaire, shows in another field how the 
symbolic elements of the unconscious necessarily refer to "libidinal movements" 
of the body, incarnating the singularities of the structure in such and such a 
place. 20 In this sense, every structure is psychosomatic, or rather represents a cat- 
egory-attitude complex. 

Let us consider the interpretation of Marxism by Althusser and his collabo- 
rators: above all, the relations of production are determined as differential 
relations that are established, not between real men or concrete individuals, but 
between objects and agents which, first of all, have a symbolic value (object of 
production, instrument of production, labor force, immediate workers, immedi- 
ate non-workers, such as they are held in relations of property and 
appropriation). 21 Each mode of production is thus characterized by singularities 
corresponding to the values of the relations. And if it is obvious that concrete 
men come to occupy the places and carry forth the elements of the structure, this 
happens by fulfilling the role that the structural place assigns to them (for exam- 
ple the "capitalist"), and by serving as supports for the structural relations. This 
occurs to such an extent that "the true subjects are not these occupants and func- 
tionaries... but the definition and distribution of these places and these 
functions." The true subject is the structure itself: the differential and the singu- 
lar, the differential relations and the singular points, the reciprocal determination 
and the complete determination. 

IV. Fourth Criterion: The Differenciator, Differentiation 

Structures are necessarily unconscious, by virtue of the elements, relations and 
points that compose them. Every structure is an infrastructure, a micro-struc- 
ture. In a certain way, they are not actual. What is actual is that in which the 
structure is incarnated or rather what the structure constitutes when it is incar- 
nated. But in itself, it is neither actual nor fictional, neither real, nor possible. 
Jakobson poses the problem of the status of the phoneme, which is not to be con- 
fused with any actual letter, syllable or sound, no more than it is a fiction, or an 
associated image. 22 Perhaps the word virtuality would precisely designate the 
mode of the structure or the object of theory, on the condition that we eliminate 
any vagueness about the word. For the virtual has a reality which is proper to it, 
but which does not merge with any actual reality, any present or past actuality. 



The virtual has an ideality that is proper to it, but which does not merge with 
any possible image, any abstract idea. We will say of structure: real without being 
actual, ideal without being abstract. 13 This is why Levi-Strauss often presents the 
structure as a sort of ideal reservoir or repertoire, in which everything coexists vir- 
tually, but where the actualization is necessarily carried out according to exclusive 
rules, always implicating partial combinations and unconscious choices. To dis- 
cern the structure of a domain is to determine an entire virtuality of coexistence 
which pre-exists the beings, objects and works of this domain. Every structure is 
a multiplicity of virtual coexistence. Louis Althusser, for example, shows in this 
sense that the originality of Marx (his anti-Hegelianism) resides in the manner 
in which the social system is defined by a coexistence of elements and economic 
relations, without one being able to engender them successively according to the 
illusion of a false dialectic. 24 

What is it that coexists in the structure? All the elements, the relations and 
relational values, all the singularities proper to the domain considered. Such a 
coexistence does not imply any confusion, nor any indetermination for the rela- 
tionships and differential elements coexist in a completely and perfectly 
determined whole. Except that this whole is not actualized as such. What is actu- 
alized, here and now, are particular relations, relational values, and distributions 
of singularities; others are actualized elsewhere or at other times. There is no total 
language [langue], embodying all the possible phonemes and phonemic relations. 
But the virtual totality of the language system [langage] is actualized following 
exclusive rules in diverse, specific languages, of which each embodies certain rela- 
tionships, relational values, and singularities. There is no total society, but each 
social form embodies certain elements, relationships, and production values (for 
example "capitalism"). We must therefore distinguish between the total structure 
of a domain as an ensemble of virtual coexistence, and the sub-structures that 
correspond to diverse actualizations in the domain. Of the structure as virtuali- 
ty, we must say that it is still undifferentiated (c), even though it is totally and 
completely differential (t). Of structures which are embodied in a particular actu- 
al form (present or past), we must say that they are differentiated, and that for 
them to be actualized is precisely to be differentiated. The structure is insepara- 
ble from this double aspect, or from this complex that one can designate under 
the name of differential (t) / differentiation (c), where t / c constitutes the uni- 
versally determined phonemic relationship. 25 

All differentiation, all actualization is carried out along two paths: species 
and parts. The differential relations are incarnated in qualitatively distinct 
species, while the corresponding singularities are incarnated in the parts and 
extended figures which characterize each species: hence, the language species, and 
the parts of each one in the vicinity of the singularities of the linguistic structure; 
the specifically defined social modes of production and the organized parts cor- 
responding to each one of these modes, etc. One will notice that the process of 



actualization always implies an internal temporality, variable according to what 
is actualized. Not only does each type of social production have a global internal 
temporality, but its organized parts have particular rhythms. As regards time, the 
position of structuralism is thus quite clear: time is always a time of actualization, 
according to which the elements of virtual coexistence are carried out at diverse 
rhythms. Time goes from the virtual to the actual, that is, from structure to its 
actualizations, and not from one actual form to another. Or at least time con- 
ceived as a relation of succession of two actual forms makes do with expressing 
abstractly the internal times of the structure or structures that are realized at dif- 
ferent depths in these two forms, and the differential relations between these 
times. And precisely because the structure is not actualized without being differ- 
entiated in space and time, hence without differentiating the species and the 
parts which carry it out, we must say in this sense that structure produces these 
species and these parts themselves. It produces them as differentiated species and 
parts, such that one can no more oppose the genetic to the structural than time 
to structure. Genesis, like time, goes from the virtual to the actual, from the 
structure to its actualization; the two notions of multiple internal time and stat- 
ic ordinal genesis are in this sense inseparable from the play of structures. 26 

We must insist on this differenciating role. Structure is in itself a system of 
elements and of differential relations, but it also differentiates the species and 
parts, the beings and functions in which the structure is actualized. It is differ- 
ential in itself, and differentiating in its effect. Commenting on Levi-Strauss's 
work, Jean Pouillon defined the problem of structuralism: can one elaborate "a 
system of differences which leads neither to their simple juxtaposition, nor to 
their artificial erasure?" 2 " In this regard, the work of Georges Dumezil is exem- 
plary, even from the point of view of structuralism: no one has better analyzed 
the generic and specific differences between religions, and also the differences in 
parts and functions between the gods of a particular, single religion. For the gods 
of a religion, for example, Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus, incarnate elements and dif- 
ferential relations, at the same time as they find their attitudes and functions in 
proximity to the singularities of the system or "parts of the society" considered. 
They are thus essentially differentiated by the structure which is actualized or 
carried out in them, and which produces them by being actualized. It is true that 
each of them, considered solely in its actuality, attracts and reflects the function 
of the others, such that one risks no longer discovering anything of this originary 
differenciation which produces them from the virtual to the actual. But it is pre- 
cisely here that the border passes between the imaginary and the symbolic: the 
imaginary tends to reflect and to resituate around each term the total effect of a 
wholistic mechanism, whereas the symbolic structure assures the differential of 
terms and the differentiation of effects. Hence the hostility of structuralism 
toward the methods of the imaginary: Lacan's critique of Jung, and the critique 
of Bachelard by proponents of "New Criticism." The imaginarion duplicates and 



reflects, it projects and identifies, loses itself in a play of mirrors, but the distinc- 
tions that it makes, like the assimilations that it carries out, are surface effects 
that hide the otherwise subtle differential mechanisms of symbolic thought. 
Commenting on Dumezil, Edmond Ortigues has this to say: "When one 
approaches the material imagination, the differential function diminishes, one 
tends towards equivalences; when one approaches the formative elements of soci- 
ety, the differential function increases, one tends towards distinctive values 
[valences J. 

Structures are unconscious, necessarily overlaid by their products or effects. 
An economic structure never exists in a pure form, but is covered over by the 
juridical, political and ideological relations in which it is incarnated. One can 
only read, find, retrieve the structures through these effects. The terms and rela- 
tions which actualize them, the species and parts that realize them, are as much 
forms of interference [brouillage] as forms of expression. This is why one of 
Lacan's disciples, J. -A. Miller, develops the concept of a "metonymic causality," 
or Althusser, the concept of a properly structural causality, in order to account 
for the very particular presence of a structure in its effects, and for the way in 
which it differenciates these effects, at the same time as these latter assimilate and 
integrate it. 29 The unconscious of the structure is a differential unconscious. One 
might believe then that structuralism goes back to a pre-Freudian conception: 
doesn't Freud understand the unconscious as a mode of the conflict of forces or 
of the opposition of desires, whereas Leibnizian metaphysics already proposed 
the idea of a differential unconscious of little perceptions? But even in Freud's 
writing, there is a whole problem of the origin of the unconscious, of its consti- 
tution as "language," which goes beyond the level of desire, of associated images 
and relations of opposition. Conversely, the differential unconscious is not con- 
stituted by little perceptions of the real and by passages to the limit, but rather 
of variations of differential relations in a symbolic system as functions of distri- 
butions of singularities. Levi-Strauss is right to say that the unconscious is made 
neither of desires nor of representations, that it is "always empty," consisting sole- 
ly in the structural laws that it imposes on representations and on desires. 30 

For the unconscious is always a problem, though not in the sense that would 
call its existence into question. Rather, the unconscious by itself forms the prob- 
lems and questions that are resolved only to the extent that the corresponding 
structure is instantiated [s'effectue] and always according to the way that it is 
instantiated. For a problem always gains the solution that it deserves based on the 
manner in which it is posed, and on the symbolic field used to pose it. Althuss- 
er can present the economic structure of a society as the field of problems that 
the society poses for itself, that it is determined to pose for itself, and that it 
resolves according to its own means, that is, according to the lines of differenti- 
ation along which the structure is actualized (taking into account the absurdities, 
ignominies and cruelties that these "solutions" involve by reason of the struc- 



ture). Similarly, Serge Leclaire, following Lacan, can distinguish psychoses and 
neuroses, and different kinds of neuroses, less by types of conflict than by modes 
of questions that always find the answer that they deserve as a function of the 
symbolic field in which they are posed: thus the hysterical question is not that of 
the obsessive." In all of this, problems and questions do not designate a provi- 
sional and subjective moment in the elaboration of our knowledge, but on the 
contrary, designate a perfectly objective category, full and complete "objectali- 
ties" [objectitesj K which are the structure's own. The structural unconscious is at 
once differential, problematizing and questioning. And, as we shall see, it is final- 
ly serial. 

V. Fifth Criterion: Serial 

All of the preceding, however, still seems incapable of functioning, for we have 
only been able to define half of the structure. A structure only starts to move, and 
become animated, if we restore its other half. Indeed, the symbolic elements that 
we have previously defined, taken in their differential relations, are organized 
necessarily in series. But so organized, they relate to another series, constituted 
by other symbolic elements and other relations: this reference to a second series 
is easily explained by recalling that singularities derive from the terms and rela- 
tions of the first, but are not limited simply to reproducing or reflecting them. 
They thus organize themselves in another series capable of an autonomous devel- 
opment, or at least they necessarily relate the first to this other series. So it is for 
phonemes and morphemes; or for the economic and other social series; or for 
Foucault's triple series, linguistic, economic and biological, etc. The question of 
knowing if the first series forms a basis and in which sense, if it is signifying, the 
others only being signified, is a complex question the nature of which we cannot 
yet assess. One must state simply that every structure is serial, multi-serial, and 
would not function without this condition. 

When Levi-Strauss again takes up the study of totemism, he shows the extent 
to which the phenomenon is poorly understood as long as it is interpreted in 
terms of imagination. For according to its law, the imagination necessarily con- 
ceives totemism as the operation by which a man or a group are identified with 
an animal. But symbolically, it is quite a different matter, not the imaginary iden- 
tification of one term with another, but the structural homology of two series of 
terms: on the one hand, a series of animal species taken as elements of differen- 
tial relations; on the other, a series of social positions themselves caught 
symbolically in their own relations. This confrontation occurs "between these 
two systems of differences," these two series of elements and relations." 

The unconscious, according to Lacan, is neither individual nor collective, 
but intersubjective, which is to say that it implies a development in terms of 
series: not only the signifier and the signified, but the two series at a minimum 



organize themselves in quite a variable manner according to the domain under 
consideration^ 1 In one ofLacan's most famous texts, he comments on "The Pur- 
loined Letter" by Edgar Allen Poe, showing how the "structure" puts into play 
two series, the places of which are occupied by variable subjects. First series: the 
king who does not see the letter, the queen who is thrilled at having so cleverly 
hidden it by leaving it out in the open, the minister who sees everything and 
takes possession of the letter. 31 Second series: the police who find nothing at the 
minister's hotel; the minister who is thrilled at having so cleverly hidden the let- 
ter by leaving it out in the open; Dupin who sees everything and takes back 
possession of the letter. Already in a previous text, Lacan examined the case of 
The Rat Man on the basis of a double series, paternal and filial, in which each 
put into play four relational terms according to an order of places: debt / friend, 
rich woman / poor woman. 36 

It goes without saying that the organization of the constitutive series of a 
structure supposes a veritable mise en scene and, in each case, requires precise eval- 
uations and interpretations. There is no general rule at all; we touch here on the 
point at which structuralism implies, from one perspective, a true creation, and 
from another, an initiative and a discovery that is not without its risks. The deter- 
mination of a structure occurs not only through a choice of basic symbolic 
elements and the differential relations into which they enter, nor merely through 
a distribution of the singular points which correspond to them. The determina- 
tion also occurs through the constitution of a second series, at least, that 
maintains complex relations with the first. And if the structure defines a prob- 
lematic field, a field of problems, it is in the sense that the nature of the problem 
reveals its proper objectivity in this serial constitution, which sometimes makes 
structuralism seem close to music. Phillipe Sollers writes a novel, Drame, punc- 
tuated [rhythme] by the expressions "Problem" and "Missing" [Manque], in the 
course of which tentative series are elaborated ("a chain of maritime memories 
passes through his right arm... the left leg, on the other contrary, seemed to be 
riddled with mineral groupings").' 7 Or Jean-Pierre Faye's attempt in Analogues, 
concerning a serial co-existence of narrative modes.' 8 

But what keeps the two series from simply reflecting one another, and hence- 
forth, identifying each of their terms one to one? The whole of the structure 
would then fall back into the state of a figure of imagination. The factor that 
allays such a threat is seemingly quite strange. Indeed, the terms of each series are 
in themselves inseparable from the slippages [decalages] or displacements that 
they undergo in relation to the terms of the other. They are thus inseparable from 
the variation of differential relations. In the case of the purloined letter, the min- 
ister in the second series comes to the place that the queen had occupied in the 
first one. In the filial series of The Rat Man, the poor woman comes to occupy 
the friend's place in relation to the debt.' 9 Or again, in the double series of birds 
and twins cited by Levi-Strauss, the twins are the "people from on high" in rela- 



tion to the people from below, necessarily coming to occupy the place of the 
"birds from below," not of the birds from on high. 4 " This relative displacement 
of the two series is not at all secondary; it does not come to affect a term from 
the outside and secondarily, as if giving it an imaginary disguise. On the con- 
trary, the displacement is properly structural or symbolic: it belongs essentially 
to the places in the space of the structure, and thus regulates all the imaginary 
disguises of beings and objects that come secondarily to occupy these places. 
This is why structuralism brings so much attention to bear on metaphor and 
metonymy. These are not in any way figures of the imagination, but are, above 
all, structural factors. They are even the two structural factors, in the sense that 
they express the two degrees of freedom of displacement, from one series to 
another and within the same series. Far from being imaginary, they prevent the 
series that they animate from confusing or duplicating their terms in imaginary 
fashion. But what are these relative displacements then, if they belong absolutely 
to places in the structure? 

VI. Sixth Criterion: The Empty Square [La Case Vide] 

It appears that the structure envelops a wholly paradoxical object or element. Let 
us consider the case of the letter, in Edgar Allen Poe's story, as examined by 
Lacan; or the case of the debt, in The Rat Man. It is obvious that this object is 
eminently symbolic, but we say "eminently" because it belongs to no series in 
particular: the letter is nevertheless present in both of Poe's series; the debt is pre- 
sent in both Rat Man series. Such an object is always present in the 
corresponding series, it traverses them and moves with them, it never ceases to 
circulate in them, and from one to the other, with an extraordinary agility. One 
might say that it is its own metaphor, and its own metonymy. The series in each 
case are constituted by symbolic terms and differential relations, but this object 
seems to be of another nature. In fact, it is in relation to the object that the vari- 
ety of terms and the variation of differential relations are determined in each 
case. The two series of a structure are always divergent (by virtue of the laws of 
differenciation), but this singular object is the convergence point of the divergent 
series as such. It is "eminently" symbolic, but precisely because it is immanent to 
the two series at once. What else would we call it, if not Object = x, the riddle 
Object or the great Mobile element? We can nevertheless remain a bit doubtful: 
what Jacques Lacan invites us to discover in two cases, the particular role played 
by a letter or a debt — is it an artifice, strictly applicable to these cases, or rather 
is it a truly general method, valid for all the structurable domains, a criterion for 
every structure, as if a structure were not defined without assigning an object = 
x that ceaselessly traverses the series? As if the literary work, for example, or the 
work of art, but other oeuvres as well, those of society, those of illness, those of 
life in general, enveloped this very special object which assumes control over 



their structure. And as if it were always a matter of finding who is H, 41 or of dis- 
covering an x shrouded within the work. Such is the case with songs: the refrain 
encompasses an object = x, while the verses form the divergent series through 
which this object circulates. It is for this reason that songs truly present an ele- 


mentary structure. 

A disciple of Lacan, Andre Green, signals the existence of the handkerchief 
that circulates in Othello, traversing all the series of the play. 43 We also spoke of 
the two series of the Prince of Wales, Falstaff or the father-buffoon, Henry IV or 
the royal father, the two images of the father. The crown is the object = x that 
traverses the two series, with different terms and under different relations. The 
moment when the prince tries on the crown, his father not yet dead, marks the 
passage from one series to the other, the change in symbolic terms and the vari- 
ation of differential relations. The old dying king is angered, and believes that his 
son wants to identify with him prematurely. Yet responding quite capably in a 
splendid speech, the prince shows that the crown is not the object of an imagi- 
nary identification, but on the contrary, is the eminently symbolic term that 
traverses all the series, the infamous series of Falstaff and the great royal series, 
and that permits the passage from one to the other at the heart of the same struc- 
ture. As we saw, there was a first difference between the imaginary and the 
symbolic; the differentiating role of the symbolic, in opposition to the assimilat- 
ing and reflecting role, doubling and duplicating, of the imaginary. But the 
second dividing line appears more clearly here: against the dual character of the 
imagination, the Third which essentially intervenes in the symbolic system, 
which distributes series, displaces them relatively, makes them communicate 
with each other, all the while preventing the one from imaginarily falling back 
on the other. 

Debt, the letter, the handkerchief or the crown, the nature of this object is 
specified by Lacan: it is always displaced in relation to itself. Its peculiar proper- 
ty is not to be where one looks for it, and conversely, also to be found where it 
is not. One would say that it "is missing from its place" [il manque a sa place] 
(and, in this, is not something real); furthermore, that it does not coincide with 
its own resemblance (and, in this, is not an image); and that it does not coincide 
with its own identity (and, in this, is not a concept). "What is hidden is never 
what is missing from its place, as the call slip puts it when speaking of a volume 
lost in the library. And even if the book be on an adjacent shelf or in the next 
slot, it would be hidden there, however visible it may appear. For only something 
that can change its place can literally be said to be missing from it: i.e., the sym- 
bolic. For the real, whatever upheaval we subject it to, is always in its place; it 
carries it glued to its heel, ignorant of what might exile it from it." 44 If the series 
that the object = x traverses necessarily present relative displacements in relation 
to each other, this is so because the relative places of their terms in the structure 
depend first on the absolute place of each, at each moment, in relation to the 



object = x that is always circulating, always displaced in relation to itself. 45 It is 
in this sense that the displacement, and more generally all the forms of 
exchange, does not constitute a characteristic added from the outside, but the 
fundamental property that allows the structure to be defined as an order of 
places subject to the variation of relations. The whole structure is driven by this 
originary Third, but that also fails to coincide with its own origin. Distributing 
the differences through the entire structure, making the differential relations 
vary with its displacements, the object = x constitutes the differenciating element 
of difference itself. 

Games need the empty square, without which nothing would move forward 
or function. The object = x is not distinguishable from its place, but it is charac- 
teristic of this place that it constantly displaces itself, just as it is characteristic of 
the empty square to jump ceaselessly. 46 Lacan invokes the dummy-hand m bridge, 
and in the admirable opening pages of The Order of Things, where he describes a 
painting by Velasquez, Foucault invokes the place of the king, in relation to 
which everything is displaced and slides, God, then man, without ever filling it. 47 
No structuralism is possible without this degree zero. Phillipe Sollers and Jean- 
Pierre Faye like to invoke the blind spot [tache aveugle], so designating this always 
mobile point which entails a certain blindness, but in relation to which writing 
becomes possible, because series organize themselves therein as genuine "liter- 
emes" [litteremes] , 48 In his effort to elaborate a concept of structural or 
metonymic causality, J. -A. Miller borrows from Frege the position of a zero, 
defined as lacking its own identity, and which conditions the serial constitution 
of numbers. 4 " And even Levi-Strauss, who in certain respects is the most posi- 
tivist among the structuralists, the least romantic, the least inclined to welcome 
an elusive element, recognized in the "mana" or its equivalents the existence of a 
"floating signifier," with a symbolic zero value circulating in the structure. 50 In so 
doing, he connects with Jakobson's zero phoneme which does not by itself entail 
any differential character or phonetic value, but in relation to which all the 
phonemes are situated in their own differential relations. 

If it is true that structural criticism has as its object the determination of "vir- 
tualities" in language which pre-exist the work, the work is itself structural when 
it sets out to express its own virtualities. Lewis Carroll, Joyce, invented "port- 
manteau" words, or more generally, esoteric words, to ensure the coincidence of 
verbal sound series and the simultaneity of associated story series. 51 In Finnegan's 
Wake, it is again a letter which is Cosmos, and which reunites all the series of the 
world. In Lewis Carroll's works, the portmanteau word connotes at least two 
basic series (speaking and eating, verbal series and alimentary series) that can 
themselves be subdivided, such as the Snark. It is incorrect to say that such a 
word has two meanings; in fact, it is of another order than words possessing a 
sense. It is the nonsense which animates at least the two series, but which pro- 
vides them with sense by circulating through them. It is this nonsense, in its 



ubiquity, in its perpetual displacement, that produces sense in each series, and 
from one series to another, and that ceaselessly dislocates [decaler] the series in 
relation to each other. This word is the word = x in so far as it designates the 
object = x, the problematic object. As word = x, it traverses a series determined as 
that of the signifier; but at the same time, as object = x, it traverses the other 
series determined as that of the signified. 52 It never ceases at once to hollow out 
and to fill in the gap between the two series. Levi-Strauss shows this in relation 
to the "mana," that he assimilates to the words "thingamajig" [true] or "thingie" 
[machin]. As we have seen, this is how nonsense is not the absence of significa- 
tion but, on the contrary, the excess of sense, or that which provides the signifier 
and signified with sense. Sense here emerges as the effect of the structure's func- 
tioning, in the animation of its component series. And no doubt, 
portmanteau-words are only one device among others that ensure this circula- 
tion. The techniques of Raymond Roussel, as Foucault has analyzed them, are of 
another nature, founded on differential phonemic relations, or on even more 
complex relations. 5 ' In Mallarme's works, we find systems of relations between 
series, and the moving parts which animate them, of yet another type. Our pur- 
pose is not to analyze the whole set of devices which have constituted and are still 
constituting modern literature, making use of an entire topography, an entire 
typography of the "book yet to come" [livre a venir]; our goal is only to indicate 
in all cases the efficacy of this two-sided empty square, at once word and object. 
What does it consist of, this object = x? Is it and must it remain the perpet- 
ual object of a riddle, the perpetuum mobile' 7 This would be a way of recalling the 
objective consistency that the category of the problematic takes on at the heart 
of structures. And in the long run, it is good that the question How do we recog- 
nize structuralism? leads to positing something that is not recognizable or 
identifiable. Let us consider Lacan's psychoanalytic response: 54 the object = x is 
determined as phallus. But this phallus is neither the real organ, nor the series of 
associable or associated images: it is the symbolic phallus. However, it is indeed 
sexuality that is in question, a question of nothing else here, contrary to the pious 
and ever-renewed attempts in psychoanalysis to renounce or minimize sexual ref- 
erences. But the phallus appears not as a sexual given or as the empirical 
determination of one of the sexes. It appears rather as the symbolic organ that 
founds sexuality in its entirety as system or structure, and in relation to which the 
places occupied variously by men and women are distributed, as also the series 
of images and realities. In designating the object = x as phallus, it is thus not a 
question of identifying this object, of conferring to it an identity, which is repel- 
lant to its nature. Quite the contrary, for the symbolic phallus is precisely that 
which does not coincide with its own identity, always found there where it is not 
since it is not where one looks for it, always displaced in relation to itself, from 
the side of the mother. In this sense, it is certainly the letter and the debt, the 
handkerchief or the crown, the Snark and the "mana." Father, mother, etc., are 



symbolic elements held in differential relations. But the phallus is quite another 
thing, the object = x that determines the relative place of the elements and the 
variable value of relations, making a structure of the entirety of sexuality. The 
relations vary as a function of the displacements of the object = x, as relations 
between "partial drives" constitutive of sexuality. 55 

Obviously the phallus is not a hnal word, and is even somewhat the locus of 
a question, of a "demand" that characterizes the empty square of the sexual struc- 
ture. Questions, like answers, vary according to the structure under 
consideration, but never do they depend on our preferences, or on an order of 
abstract causality. It is obvious that the empty square of an economic structure, 
such as commodity exchange, must be determined in quite another way. It con- 
sists of "something" which is reducible neither to the terms of the exchange, nor 
to the exchange relation itself, but that forms an eminently symbolic third term 
in perpetual displacement, and as a function of which the relational variations 
will be defined. Such is value as expression of a "generalized labor," beyond any 
empirically observable quality, a locus of the question that runs through or tra- 
verses the economy as structure. 56 

A more general consequence follows from this, concerning the different 
"orders." From a structuralist perspective, it is no doubt unsatisfactory to resur- 
rect the problem of whether there is a structure that determines all the others in 
the final instance. For example, which is first, value or the phallus, the econom- 
ic fetish or the sexual fetish? For several reasons, these questions are meaningless. 
All structures are infrastructures. The structural orders — linguistic, familial, eco- 
nomic, sexual, etc. — are characterized by the form of their symbolic elements, 
the variety of their differential relations, the species of their singularities, finally 
and, above all, by the nature of the object = x that presides over their function- 
ing. However, we could only establish an order of linear causality from one 
structure to another by conferring on the object = x in each case the type of iden- 
tity that it essentially repudiates. Between structures, causality can only be a type 
of structural causality. In each structural order, certainly, the object = x is not at 
all something unknowable, something purely undetermined; it is perfectly deter- 
minable, including within its displacements and by the mode of displacement 
that characterizes it. It is simply not assignable: that is, it cannot be fixed to one 
place, nor identified with a genre or a species. Rather, it constitutes itself the ulti- 
mate genre of the structure or its total place: it thus has no identity except in 
order to lack this identity, and has no place except in order to be displaced in 
relation to all places. As a result, for each order of structure the object = x is the 
empty or perforated site that permits this order to be articulated with the others, 
in a space that entails as many directions as orders. The orders of the structure 
do not communicate in a common site, but they all communicate through their 
empty place or respective object = x. This is why, despite several of Levi-Strauss's 
hasty pages, no privilege can be claimed for ethnographic social structures, by 


referring the psychoanalytic sexual structures to the empirical determination of a 
more or less de-socialized individual. Even linguistic structures cannot pass as 
symbolic elements or as ultimate signifiers. Precisely to the extent that the other 
structures are not limited simply to applying by analogy methods borrowed from 
linguistics, but discover on their own account veritable languages, be they non- 
verbal, always entailing their signifiers, their symbolic elements and differential 
relations. Posing, for example, the problem of the relations between ethnography 
and psychoanalysis, Foucault is right to say: "They intersect at right angles; for 
the signifying chain by which the unique experience of the individual is consti- 
tuted is perpendicular to the formal system on the basis of which the 
significations of a culture are constituted: at any given instant, the structure 
proper to individual experience finds a certain number of possible choices (and 
of excluded possibilities) in the systems of the society; conversely, at each of their 
points of choice the social structures encounter a certain number of possible indi- 
viduals (and others who are not)." 57 

And in each structure, the object = x must be disposed to give an account 1) 
of the way in which it subordinates within its order the other orders of structure, 
that then only intervene as dimensions of actualization; 2) of the way in which it 
is itself subordinated to the other orders in their own order (and no longer inter- 
venes except in their own actualization); 3) of the way in which all the objects = 
x and all the orders of structure communicate with one another, each order defin- 
ing a dimension of the space in which it is absolutely primary; 4) of the conditions 
in which, at a given moment in history or in a given case, a particular dimension 
corresponding to a particular order of the structure is not deployed for itself and 
remains subordinated to the actualization of another order (the Lacanian concept 
of "foreclosure" would again be of decisive importance here). 

VII. Final Criteria: From the Subject to Practice 

In one sense, places are only filled or occupied by real beings to the extent that the 
structure is "actualized." But in another sense, we can say that places are already 
filled or occupied by symbolic elements, at the level of the structure itself. And the 
differential relations of these elements are the ones that determine the order of 
places in general. Thus there is a primary symbolic filling-in [remplissement], 
before any filling-in or occupation by real beings. Except that we again find the 
paradox of the empty square. For this is the only place that cannot and must not 
be filled, were it even by a symbolic element. It must retain the perfection of its 
emptiness in order to be displaced in relation to itself, and in order to circulate 
throughout the elements and the variety of relations. As symbolic, it must be for 
itself its own symbol, and eternally lack its other half that would be likely to come 
and occupy it. (This void is, however, not a non-being; or at least this non-being 
is not the being of the negative, but rather the positive being of the "problemat- 


ic," the objective being of a problem and of a question.) 5 " This is why Foucault 
can say: "It is no longer possible to think in our day other than in the void left by 
man's disappearance. For this void does not create a deficiency; it does not constitute 
a lacuna that must be filled in. It is nothing more and nothing less than the unfold- 
ing of a space in which it is once more possible to think." 5 ' 

Nevertheless, if the empty square is not filled by a term, it is nevertheless 
accompanied by an eminently symbolic instance which follows all of its dis- 
placements, accompanied without being occupied or filled. And the two, the 
instance and the place, do not cease to lack each other, and to accompany each 
other in this manner. The subject is precisely the agency [instance] which follows 
the empty place: as Lacan says, it is less subject than subjected [assujetti] — sub- 
jected to the empty square, subjected to the phallus and to its displacements. Its 
agility is peerless, or should be. Thus, the subject is essentially intersubjective. To 
announce the death of God, or even the death of man is nothing. What counts 
is how. Nietzsche showed already that God dies in several ways; and that the gods 
die, but from laughter, upon hearing one god say that he is the Only One. Struc- 
turalism is not at all a form of thought that suppresses the subject, but one that 
breaks it up and distributes it systematically, that contests the identity of the sub- 
ject, that dissipates it and makes it shift from place to place, an always nomad 
subject, made of individuations, but impersonal ones, or of singularities, but pre- 
individual ones. 60 This is the sense in which Foucault speaks of "dispersion"; and 
Levi-Strauss can only define a subjective agency as depending on the Object con- 
ditions under which the systems of truth become convertible and, thus, 
"simultaneously receivable to several different subjects." 

Henceforth, two great accidents of the structure may be defined. Either the 
empty and mobile square is no longer accompanied by a nomad subject that 
accentuates its trajectory, and its emptiness becomes a veritable lack, a lacuna. Or 
just the opposite, it is filled, occupied by what accompanies it, and its mobility 
is lost in the effect of a sedentary or fixed plenitude. One could just as well say, 
in linguistic terms, either that the "signifier" has disappeared, that the stream 
[flot] of the signified no longer finds any signifying element that marks it, or that 
the "signified" has faded away, that the chain of the signifier no longer finds any 
signified that traverses it: the two pathological aspects of psychosis. One could 
say further, in theo-anthropological terms, that either God makes the desert grow 
and hollows out a lacuna in the earth, or that man fills it, occupies the place, and 
in this vain permutation makes us pass from one accident to the other: this being 
the reason why man and God are the two sicknesses of the earth, that is to say, 
of the structure. 

What is important is knowing according to what factors and at what 
moments these accidents are determined in structures of one order or another. 
Let us again consider the analyses of Althusser and his collaborators: on the one 
hand, they show in the economic order how the adventures of the empty square 



(Value as object = x) are marked by the goods, money, the fetish, capital, etc., 
that characterize the capitalist structure. On the other hand, they show how con- 
tradictions are thus born in the structure. Finally, they show how the real and the 
imaginary — that is, the real beings who come to occupy places and the ideolo- 
gies which express the image that they make of it — are narrowly determined by 
the play of these structural adventures and the contradictions resulting from it. 
Not that the contradictions are at all imaginary: they are properly structural, and 
qualify the effects of the structure in the internal time that is proper to it. Thus 
it cannot be said that the contradiction is apparent, but rather that it is derived: 
it derives from the empty place and from its becoming in the structure. As a gen- 
eral rule, the real, the imaginary and their relations are always engendered 
secondarily by the functioning of the structure, which starts with having its primary 
effects in itself 

This is why what we were earlier calling accidents does not at all happen to 
the structure from the outside. On the contrary, it is a matter of an "immanent" 
tendency, 63 of ideal events that are part of the structure itself, and that symboli- 
cally affect its empty square or subject. We call them "accidents" in order better 
to emphasize not a contingent or exterior character, but this very special charac- 
teristic of the event, interior to the structure in so far as the structure can never 
be reduced to a simple essence. 

Henceforth, a set of complex problems are posed for structuralism, concern- 
ing structural "mutations" (Foucault) or "forms of transition" from one structure 
to another (Althusser). It is always as a function of the empty square that the dif- 
ferential relations are open to new values or variations, and the singularities 
capable of new distributions, constitutive of another structure. The contradic- 
tions must yet be "resolved," that is, the empty place must be rid of the symbolic 
events that eclipse it or fill it, and be given over to the subject which must accom- 
pany it on new paths, without occupying or deserting it. Thus, there is a 
structuralist hero: neither God nor man, neither personal nor universal, it is with- 
out an identity, made of non-personal individuations and pre-individual 
singularities. It assures the break-up [I'e'clatement] of a structure affected by excess 
or deficiency; it opposes its own ideal event to the ideal events that we have just 
described. 64 For a new structure not to pursue adventures that again are analo- 
gous to those of the old structure, not to cause fatal contradictions to be reborn, 
depends on the resistant and creative force of this hero, on its agility in follow- 
ing and safeguarding the displacements, on its power to cause relations to vary 
and to redistribute singularities, always casting another throw of the dice. This 
mutation point precisely defines a praxis, or rather the very site where praxis 
must take hold. For structuralism is not only inseparable from the works that it 
creates, but also from a practice in relation to the products that it interprets. 
Whether this practice is therapeutic or political, it designates a point of perma- 
nent revolution, or of permanent transfer. 



These last criteria, from the subject to practice, are the most obscure — the 
criteria of the future. Across the six preceding characteristics, we have sought 
only to juxtapose a system of echoes between authors who are very independent 
from each other, exploring very diverse domains, and as diverse as the theory that 
they themselves propose regarding these echoes. At the different levels of the 
structure, the real and the imaginary, real beings and ideologies, sense and con- 
tradiction, are "effects" that must be understood at the conclusion of a "process," 
of a properly structural, differenciated production: strange static genesis for phys- 
ical (optical, sound, etc.) "effects." Books against structuralism (or those against 
the "New Novel") are strictly without importance; they cannot prevent struc- 
turalism from exerting a productivity which is that of our era. No book against 
anything ever has any importance; all that counts are books for something, and 
that know how to produce it. 


Three Group- Related Problems 1 

A militant political activist and a psychoanalyst just so happen to meet in the 
same person,' and instead of each minding his own business, they ceaselessly 
communicate, interfere with one another, and get mixed up — each mistaking 
himself for the other. An uncommon occurrence at least since Reich. Pierre- 
Felix Guattari does not let problems of the unity of the Self preoccupy him. The 
self is rather one more thing we ought to dissolve, under the combined assault 
of political and analytical forces. Guattari's formula, "we are all groupuscles," 
indeed heralds the search for a new subjectivity, a group subjectivity, which does 
not allow itself to be enclosed in a whole bent on reconstituting a self (or even 
worse, a superego), but which spreads itself out over several groups at once. 
These groups are divisible, manifold, permeable, and always optional. A good 
group does not take itself to be unique, immortal, and significant, unlike a 
defense ministry or homeland security office, unlike war veterans, but instead 
plugs into an outside that confronts the group with its own possibilities of non- 
sense, death, and dispersal "precisely as a result of its opening up to other 
groups." In turn, the individual is also a group. In the most natural way imag- 
inable, Guattari embodies two aspects of an anti-Self: on the one hand, he is like 
a catatonic stone, a blind and hard body invaded by death as soon as he takes 
off his glasses; on the other hand, he lights up and seethes with multiple lives 
the moment he looks, acts, laughs, thinks or attacks. Thus he is named Pierre 
and Felix: schizophrenic powers. 

In this meeting of the militant and the psychoanalyst, there are at least three 
different problems that emerge: 1) In what form does one introduce politics into 
psychoanalytic theory and practice (it being understood that, in any case, poli- 
tics is already in the unconscious)?; 2) Is there a reason to introduce 
psychoanalysis into militant revolutionary groups, and if so, how?; 3) How does 
one conceive and form specific therapeutic groups whose influence would impact 



political groups, as well as psychiatric and psychoanalytic groups? The series of 
articles from 1955 to 1970 which Guattari presents here, addresses these three 
different problems and exhibits a particular evolution, whose two major focal 
points are the hopes-and-despair after the Liberation, and the hopes-and- 
despair following May '68 — while in-between the double agent is hard at work 
preparing for May. 

As for the first problem, Guattari early on had the intuition that the uncon- 
scious is directly related to a whole social field, both economic and political, 
rather than the mythical and familial grid traditionally deployed by psycho- 
analysis. It is indeed a question of libido as such, as the essence of desire and 
sexuality: but now it invests and disinvests flows of every kind as they trickle 
through the social field, and it effects cuts in these flows, stoppages, leaks, and 
retentions. To be sure, it does not operate in a manifest way, as do the objective 
interests of consciousness or the chains of historical causality. It deploys a latent 
desire coextensive with the social field, entailing ruptures in causality and the 
emergence of singularities, sticking points as well as leaks. The year 1936 is not 
only an event in historical consciousness, it is also a complex of the unconscious. 
Our love affairs, our sexual choices, are less the by-products of a mythical 
Mommy-Daddy, than the excesses of a social -reality, the interferences and effects 
of flows invested by the libido. What do we not make love with, including death? 
Guattari is thus able to reproach psychoanalysis for the way in which it system- 
atically crushes the socio-political contents of the unconscious, though they in 
reality determine the objects of desire. Psychoanalysis, says Guattari, starts from 
a kind of absolute narcissism {Das Ding) and aims at an ideal social adaptation 
which it calls a cure; this procedure, however, always obscures a singular social 
constellation which in fact must be brought to light, rather than sacrificed to the 
invention of an abstract, symbolic unconscious. Das Ding [The Thing] is not 
some recurrent horizon that constitutes an individual person in an illusory way, 
but a social body serving as a basis for latent potentialities (why are these people 
lunatics, and those people revolutionaries?). Far more important than mommy, 
daddy, and grandma are all the characters haunting the fundamental questions 
of society, such as the class conflict of our day. More important than recalling 
how, one fine day, Oedipus "totally changed" Greek society, is the enormous 
Spaltung [division, rift, fissure] traversing the communist party today. How does 
one overlook the role the State plays in all the dead-ends where the libido is 
caught, and reduced to investing in the intimist images of the family? Are we to 
believe that the castration complex will find a satisfactory solution as long as soci- 
ety assigns it the unconscious role of social repression and regulation? In a word, 
the social relation never constitutes something beyond or something added after 
the fact, where individual or familial problems occur. What is remarkable is how 
manifest the economic and political social contents of the libido become, the 
more one confronts the most desocialized aspects of certain syndromes, as in psy- 



chosis. "Beyond the Self, the subject explodes in fragments throughout the uni- 
verse, the madman begins speaking foreign languages, rewriting history as 
hallucination, and using war and class conflict as instruments of personal expres- 
sion [...] the distinction between private life and the various levels of social life 
no longer holds." (Compare this with Freud, who derives from war only an 
undetermined death-drive, and a non-qualified shock or excess of excitation 
caused by a big boom). Restoring to the unconscious its historical perspectives, 
against a backdrop of disquiet and the unknown, implies a reversal of psycho- 
analysis and certainly a rediscovery of psychosis underneath the cheap trappings 
of neurosis. Psychoanalysis has indeed joined forces with the most traditional 
psychiatry to stifle the voices of the insane constantly talking politics, econom- 
ics, order, and revolution. In a recent article, Marcel Jaeger shows how "the 
discourse produced by the insane does not only contains the depth of their indi- 
vidual psychic disorders: the discourse of madness also connects with the 
discourse of political, social, and religious history that speaks in each of us. [...] 
In certain cases, the use of political concepts provokes a state of crisis in the 
patient, as though these concepts brought to light the very contradictions in 
which the patient has become entangled. [...] No place is free, not even the asy- 
lum, from the historical inscription of the workers' movement.'" These 
formulations express the same orientation that Guattari's work displays in his 
first articles, the same effort to reevaluate psychosis. 

We see the difference here with Reich: there is no libidinal economy to 
impart, by other means, a subjective prolongation to political economy; there is 
no sexual repression to internalize economic exploitation and political subjec- 
tion. Instead, desire as libido is everywhere already present, sexuality runs 
through the entire social field and embraces it, coinciding with the flows that 
pass under the objects, persons and symbols of a group, and it is on desire as 
libido that these same objects, persons and symbols depend for their distribution 
and very constitution. What we witness here, precisely, is the latent character of 
the sexuality of desire, which becomes manifest only with the choice of sexual 
objects and their symbols (if it needs to be said that the symbols are consciously 
sexual). Consequently, this is political economy as such, an economy of flows, 
which is unconsciously libidinal: there is only one economy, not two; and desire 
or libido is just the subjectivity of political economy. "In the end, the economic 
is the motor of subjectivity." Now we see the meaning of the notion of institu- 
tion, defined as a subjectivity of flows and their interruption in the objective 
forms of a group. The dualities of the objective and the subjective, of infrastruc- 
ture and superstructure, of production and ideology, vanish and give way to the 
strict complementarity of the desiring subject of the institution, and the institu- 
tional object. (Guattari's institutional analyses should be compared with those 
Cardan did around the same time in Socialisme ou Barbarie, both assimilated in 
the same bitter critique of the Trotskyites.) 4 



The second problem — is there a reason to introduce psychoanalysis into 
political groups, and if so how? — excludes, to be sure, any "application" of psy- 
choanalysis to historical and social phenomena. Psychoanalysis has accumulated 
many such ridiculous applications, Oedipus being foremost among them. 
Rather, the problem is this: the situation that has made capitalism the thing to 
be overthrown by revolution is the same situation that made the Russian Revo- 
lution, as well as the history immediately following it, not to mention the 
organization of communist parties, and national unions, all into so many author- 
ities incapable of effecting the destruction of capitalism. In this regard, the 
proper character of capitalism, which is presented as a contradiction between the 
development of productive forces and the relations of production, is essentially 
the reproduction process of capital. This process, however, on which the pro- 
ductive forces of capital in the system depend, is in fact an international 
phenomenon implying a worldwide division of labor; nevertheless, capitalism 
cannot shatter the national frameworks within which it develops its relations of 
production, nor can it smash the State as the instrument of the valuation of cap- 
ital. 5 The internationalism of capital is thus accomplished by national and state 
structures that curb capital even as they make it work; these "archaic" structures 
have genuine functions. State monopoly capitalism, far from being an ultimate 
given, is the result of a compromise. In this "expropriation of the capitalists at 
the heart of capital," the bourgeoisie maintains its stranglehold on the State 
apparatus through its increasing efforts to institutionalize and integrate the 
working class, in such a way that class conflict is decentered with respect to the 
real places and deciding factors that go beyond States and point to the interna- 
tional capitalist economy. It is by virtue of the same principle that "a narrow 
sphere of production is alone inserted in the worldwide reproduction process of 
capital," while in third-world States, the rest remains subjected to precapitalist 
relations (genuine archaisms of a second kind). 

Given this situation, we see the complicity of national communist parties 
promoting the integration of the proletariat into the State, such that "the bour- 
geoisie's national sense of identity results in large measure from the proletariat's 
own national sense of identity; so, too, does the internal division of the bour- 
geoisie result from the division of the proletariat." Moreover, even when the 
necessity of revolutionary struggle in the third world is affirmed, these struggles 
mostly serve as chips in a negotiation, indicating the same renunciation of an 
international strategy and the development of class conflict in capitalist coun- 
tries. It comes down to this imperative: the working class must defend national 
productive forces, struggle against monopolies, and appropriate a State apparatus. 

This situation originates in what Guattari calls "the great Leninist rupture" 
of 1917, which determined for better or worse the major attitudes, the principal 
discourse, initiatives, stereotypes, phantasms, and interpretations of the revolu- 
tionary movement. This rupture was presented as the possibility of effecting a 



real break in historical causality by "interpreting" the military, economic, politi- 
cal and social disarray as a victory of the masses. Arising to replace the necessity 
of a sacred union of the center with the left was the possibility of a socialist rev- 
olution. But this possibility was only accepted by turning the party, once a 
modest clandestine group, into an embryonic State apparatus able to direct 
everything, to fulfill a messianic vocation and substitute itself for the masses. Two 
more or less long-term consequences ensued. Inasmuch as the new State con- 
fronted capitalist States, it entered into relations of force with them, and the ideal 
of such relations was a kind of status quo: what had been the Leninist tactic at 
the creation of the NEP was converted into an ideology of peaceful coexistence 
and economic competition with the West. This idea of competition spelled the 
ruin of the revolutionary movement. And inasmuch as the new State assumed 
responsibility for the proletariat the world over, it could develop a socialist econ- 
omy only in accordance with the realities of the global market and according to 
objectives similar to those of international capital. The new State all the more 
readily accepted the integration of local communist parties into the relations of 
capitalist production since it was in the name of the working class defending the 
national forces of production. In short, there is no reason to agree with the tech- 
nocrats when they say that two kinds of regimes and States converged as they 
evolved; nor with Trotsky, when he supposes that bureaucracy corrupted a 
healthy proletarian State, with the cure consisting in a simple political revolu- 
tion. The outcome was already decided or betrayed in the way in which the 
State-party responded to the city-States of capitalism, even in their relations of 
mutual hostility and annoyance. The clearest evidence of this is that weak insti- 
tutions were created in every sector in Russia as soon as the Soviets liquidated 
everything early on (for example, when they imported pre-assembled automobile 
factories, they unwittingly imported certain types of human relations, techno- 
logical functions, separations between intellectual and manual work, and modes 
of consumption deeply foreign to socialism). 

What gives this analysis its force is the distinction Guattari proposes between 
subjugated groups and group-subjects. Groups are subjugated no less by the leaders 
they assign themselves, or accept, than by the masses. The hierarchy, the vertical 
or pyramidal organization, which characterizes subjugated groups is meant to 
ward off any possible inscription of nonsense, death or dispersal, to discourage 
the development of creative ruptures, and to ensure the self-preservation mech- 
anisms rooted in the exclusion of other groups. Their centralization works 
through structure, totalization, unification, replacing the conditions of a genuine 
collective "utterance" with an assemblage of stereotypical utterances cut off both 
from the real and from subjectivity (this is when imaginary phenomena such as 
Oedipalization, superegofication, and group-castration take place). Group-sub- 
jects, on the other hand, are defined by coefficients of transversality that ward off 
totalities and hierarchies. They are agents of enunciation, environments of desire, 



elements of institutional creation. Through their very practice, they ceaselessly 
conform to the limit of their own nonsense, their own death or rupture. Still, it 
is less a question of two groups than two sides of the institution, since a group- 
subject is always in danger of allowing itself to be subjugated, in a paranoid 
contraction where the group wants to perpetuate itself at all cost and live forever 
as a subject. Conversely, "a party that was once revolutionary and now more or 
less subjugated to the dominant order can still occupy, in the eyes of the masses, 
the place which the subject of history has left empty, can still become in spite of 
itself the mouthpiece of a discourse not its own, even if it means betraying that 
discourse when the evolution of the relations of force causes a return to normal- 
cy: the group nonetheless preserves, almost involuntarily, a potentiality of 
subjective rupture which a transformation of context will reveal." (To take an 
extreme example: the way in which the worst archaisms can become revolution- 
ary, i.e. the Basques, the Irish Republican Army, etc.) 

It is certainly true that if the problem of the group's functioning is not posed 
to begin with, it will be too late afterwards. Too many groupuscles that as yet 
inspire only phantom masses already possess a structure of subjugation, complete 
with leadership, a mechanism of transmission, and a core membership, aimless- 
ly reproducing the errors and perversions they are trying to oppose. Guattari's 
own experience begins with Trotskyism and proceeds through Entryism, the 
Leftist Opposition {La Voie communiste), and the March 22nd Movement. 
Throughout this trajectory, the problem remains one of desire or unconscious 
subjectivity: how does a group carry its own desire, connect it to the desires of 
other groups and to the desires of the masses, produce the appropriate creative 
utterances and constitute the conditions not of unification, but of multiplication 
conducive to utterances in revolt? The misreading and repression of phenomena 
of desire inspire structures of subjugation and bureaucratization: the militant 
style composed of hateful love determining a limited number of exclusive dom- 
inant utterances. The constancy with which revolutionary groups have betrayed 
their task is well known. These groups operate through detachment, election, 
and residual selection: they detach a supposedly expert avant-garde; they elect a 
disciplined, organized, hierarchized proletariat; they select a residual sub-prole- 
tariat to be excluded or reeducated. But this tripartite division reproduces 
precisely the divisions which the bourgeoisie introduced into the proletariat, and 
on which it has based its power within the framework of capitalist relations of 
production. Attempting to turn these divisions against the bourgeoisie is a lost 
cause. The revolutionary task is the suppression of the proletariat itself, that is to 
say, the immediate suppression of the distinctions between avant-garde and pro- 
letariat, between proletariat and sub-proletariat — the effective struggle against all 
mechanisms of detachment, election, and residual selection — such that subjec- 
tive and singular positions capable of transversal communication may emerge 
instead (cf. Guattari's text, "L'etudiant, le fou et le Katangais"). 



Guattari's strength consists in showing that the problem is not at all about 
choosing between spontaneity and centralism. Nor between guerrilla and gen- 
eralized warfare. It serves no purpose to recognize in one breath the right to 
spontaneity during a first stage, if it means in the next breath demanding the 
necessity of centralization for a second stage: the theory of stages is the ruin of 
every revolutionary movement. From the start we have to be more centralist 
than the centralists. Clearly, a revolutionary machine cannot remain satisfied 
with local and occasional struggles: it has to be at the same time super-central- 
ized and super-desiring. The problem, therefore, concerns the nature of 
unification, which must function in a transversal way, through multiplicity, and 
not in a vertical way, so apt to crush the multiplicity proper to desire. In the first 
place, this means that any unification must be the unification of a war-machine 
and not a State apparatus (a Red Army stops being a war-machine to the extent 
that it becomes a more or less important cog in a State apparatus). In the sec- 
ond place, this means that unification must occur through analysis, that it must 
play the role of an analyzer with respect to the desire of the group and the mass- 
es, and not the role of a synthesizer operating through rationalization, 
totalization, exclusion, etc. What exactly a war-machine is (as compared to a 
State-apparatus), and what exactly an analysis or an analyzer of desire is (as 
opposed to pseudo-rational and scientific synthesis), are the two major lines of 
thought that Guattari's book pursues, signaling in his view the theoretical task 
to be undertaken at the present time. 

This pursuit, however, is not about "applying" psychoanalysis to group 
phenomena. Nor is it about a therapeutic group that would somehow "treat" 
the masses. It's about constituting in the group the conditions of an analysis of 
desire, for oneself and for others; it's about pursuing the flows that constitute 
myriad lines of flight in capitalist society, and bringing about ruptures, impos- 
ing interruptions at the very heart of social determinism and historical 
causality; it's about allowing collective agents of enunciation to emerge, capa- 
ble of formulating new utterances of desire; it's about constituting not an 
avant-garde, but groups adjacent to social processes, whose only task is to 
advance a truth along paths it usually never takes — in a word, it's about con- 
stituting a revolutionary subjectivity about which there is no more reason to 
ask whether libidinal, economic, or political determinations should come first, 
since this subjectivity traverses traditionally separate orders; it's about grasping 
that point of rupture where, precisely, political economy and libidinal econo- 
my are one and the same. The unconscious is nothing else than the order of 
group subjectivity which introduces explosive machines into so-called signify- 
ing structures as well as causal chains, forcing them to open to liberate their 
hidden potentialities as a future reality influenced by the rupture. The March 
22nd Movement is exemplary in this respect, because while it was insufficient 
as a war-machine, it nonetheless functioned exceedingly well as an analytic and 



desiring group which not only held a discourse on the mode of truly free asso- 
ciation, but which was able also "to constitute itself as an analyzer of a 
considerable mass of students and workers," without any claims to hegemony 
or avant-garde status; it was simply an environment allowing for the transfer 
and the removal of inhibitions. Analysis and desire finally on the same side, 
with desire taking the lead: such an actualization of analysis indeed character- 
izes group -subjects, whereas subjugated groups continue to exist under the 
laws of a simple "application" of psychoanalysis in a closed environment (the 
family as a continuation of the State by other means). The political and eco- 
nomic content of libido as such, the libidinal and sexual content of the 
politico-economic field — this whole turn of history — become manifest only in 
an open environment and in group-subjects, wherever a truth shows up. 
Because "truth is not theory, and not organization." It's not structure, and not 
the signifier; it's the war-machine and its nonsense. "When the truth shows 
itself, theory and organization will just have to deal with it; it's not desire's role 
to perform self-criticism, theory and organization have to do it." 

The transformation of psychoanalysis into schizo-analysis implies an eval- 
uation of the specificity of madness. This is just one of the points Guattari 
insists on, joining forces with Foucault, who says that madness will not be 
replaced by the positivist determination, treatment, and neutralization of men- 
tal illness, but that mental illness will be replaced by something we have not 
yet understood in madness. 6 Because the real problems have to do with psy- 
chosis (not the neuroses of application). It is always a pleasure to elicit the 
mockery of positivists: Guattari never tires of proclaiming the legitimacy of a 
metaphysical or transcendental point of view, which consists in purging mad- 
ness of mental illness, and not mental illness of madness: "Will there come a 
day when we will finally study President Schreber's or Antonin Artaud's defin- 
itions of God with the same seriousness and rigor as those of Descartes or 
Malebranche? For how long will we perpetuate the split between the inner 
workings of pure theoretical critique and the concrete analytical activity of the 
human sciences?" (It should be understood that mad definitions are more seri- 
ous and more rigorous than the unhealthy-rational definitions by means of 
which subjugated groups relate to God in the form of reason.) More precisely, 
Guattari's institutional analysis criticizes anti-psychiatry not only for refusing 
to acknowledge any pharmacological function, not only for denying the insti- 
tution any revolutionary possibility, but especially for confusing mental 
alienation with social alienation and thereby suppressing the specificity of 
madness. "With the best intentions, both moral and political, they managed to 
refuse the insane their right to be insane, the it's-all-society's-fault can mask a 
way of suppressing deviance. The negation of the institution would then be the 
denial of the singular fact of mental alienation." Not that some general theory 



of madness must be posited, nor must a mystical identity of the revolutionary 
and lunatic be invoked. (Certainly, it is useless to attempt to forestall such a 
criticism, which will be made in any event.) Rather, it's not madness which 
must be reduced to the order of the general, but the modern world in general 
or the entire social field which must also be interpreted in terms of the singu- 
larity of the lunatic, in its very own subjective position. Militant 
revolutionaries cannot be concerned with delinquency, deviance, and mad- 
ness — not as educators or reformers, but as those who can read the face of their 
proper difference only in such mirrors. Take for example this bit of dialogue 
with Jean Oury, at the start of this collection: "Something specific to a group 
of militants in the psychiatric domain is being committed to social struggle, 
but also being insane enough to entertain the possibility of being with the 
insane; but there are definitely people in politics who are incapable of belong- 
ing to such a group..." 

Guattari's proper contribution to institutional psychotherapy resides in a 
certain number of notions (whose formation we can actually trace in this col- 
lection): the distinction between two kinds of groups, the opposition between 
group phantasms and individual phantasms, and the conception of transver- 
sality. And these notions have a precise practical orientation: introducing a 
militant political function into the institution, constituting a kind of "mon- 
ster" which is neither psychoanalysis, nor hospital practice, even less group 
dynamics, and which is everywhere applicable, in the hospital, at school, in a 
militant group — a machine to produce and give voice to desire. This is why 
Guattari claimed the name of institutional analysis for his work rather than 
institutional psychotherapy. In the institutional movement led by Tosquelles 
and Jean Oury there indeed begins a third age of psychiatry: the institution as 
model, beyond the contract and the law. If it is true that the old asylum was 
governed by repressive law, insofar as the insane were judged "incapable" and 
therefore excluded from the contractual relations that unite so-called reason- 
able beings, Freud's stroke of genius was to show that bourgeois families and 
the frontiers of the asylum contained a large group of people ("neurotics") who 
could be brought under a particular contract, in order to lead them, using orig- 
inal means, back to the norms of traditional medicine (the psychoanalytic 
contract as a particular case of the liberal-medical contractual relation). The 
abandonment of hypnosis was an important step in this development. It seems 
to me that no one has yet analyzed the role and effects of this contractual 
model in which psychoanalysis lodged itself; one of the principal consequences 
of this was that psychosis remained on the horizon of psychoanalysis, as a gen- 
uine source of clinical material, and yet was excluded as beyond the contractual 
field. It will come as no surprise, as several texts in this collection demonstrate, 
that institutional psychotherapy entails in its principal propositions a critique 
of repressive law as well as the so-called liberal contract, for which it hoped to 



substitute the model of the institution. This critique was meant to be extended 
in several directions at once, inasmuch as the pyramidal organization of 
groups, their subjugation and hierarchical division of labor are based on con- 
tractual relations no less than legalist structures. In the collection's first text, 
dealing with doctor-nurse relationships, Oury interjects: "There is a rational- 
ism in society that is nothing more than a rationalization of bad faith and 
rotten behavior. The view from the inside is the relationship one has with the 
insane on a day-to-day basis, provided a certain "contract" with the traditional 
has been voided. So, in a sense, we can say that knowing what it is to be in con- 
tact with the insane is at the same time being a progressive. [...] Clearly, the 
very terms doctor-nurse belong to the contract we said we had to void." There 
is in institutional psychotherapy a kind of psychiatric inspiration a la Saint- 
Just, in the sense that Saint-Just defines the republican regime by many 
institutions and few laws (few contractual relations also). Institutional psy- 
chotherapy threads a difficult passage between anti-psychiatry, which tends to 
fall back into desperate contractual forms (cf. a recent interview with Laing), 
and psychiatry today, with its tight police controls, its planned triangulation, 
which will very likely cause us to regret the closed asylums of old, ah the good 
old days, the good old style. 

What comes into play here are Guattari's problems concerning the nature 
of cured-curing groups capable of forming group-subjects, that is to say, capa- 
ble of making the institution the object of a genuine creation where madness 
and revolution each reflect, without combining, the face of their difference in 
the singular positions of a desiring subjectivity. For example, in the article 
entitled "Where does group psychotherapy begin?," there is the analysis of 
BTUs (basic therapeutic units) at La Borde. How does one ward off subjuga- 
tion from already subjugated groups, with which traditional psychoanalysis is 
in competition? And psychoanalytic associations: on what side of the institu- 
tion, in what group, do they fall? A great portion of Guattari's work prior to 
May '68 was dedicated to "patients taking charge of their own illness, with the 
support of the entire student movement." A particular dream of nonsense and 
empty words, instituted as such, against laws or the contract of saturated 
speech, and legitimized schizo-flow have ceaselessly inspired Guattari in his 
endeavor to break down the divisions and hierarchical or pseudo-functional 
compartmentalizations — educator, psychiatrist, analyst, militant... Every text 
in this collection is an article written for a specific occasion. And they have a 
twofold goal: the one is connected to their origin at a certain juncture of insti- 
tutional psychotherapy, a certain moment of militant political life, a certain 
aspect of the Freudian school and Lacan's teaching; the other looks to their 
function, their possible functioning in other circumstances. This book must 
be taken in bits and pieces, like a montage or installation of the cogs and 
wheels of a machine. Sometimes the cogs are small, miniscule, but disorderly, 



and thus all the more indispensable. This book is a machine of desire, in other 
words, a war-machine, an analyser. So, I would like to single out two texts in 
particular that seem especially important in this collection: a theoretical text, 
where the very principle of a machine is distinguished from the hypothesis of 
structure and detached from structural ties ("Machine and Structure"), and a 
schizo-text where the notions of "sign-point" and "sign-blot" are freed from 
the obstacle of the signifier. 


"What Our Prisoners Want 
From Us..." 1 

Something new is happening in and around our prisons. Inmates are deciding 
what form they wish to give their collective action within the context of each par- 
ticular prison (since Toul, for example: the Tract / Final warning at Melun, the 
work stoppage at Nimes, the break out and occupation of the roof tops at 
Nancy). 2 But in this great variety there appears to be a series of precise demands, 
which are no longer addressed to the penitentiary administration, but are direct- 
ly addressed to the powers that be and call directly on the French people. These 
demands in common essentially deal with censure: the "court" and "solitary con- 
finement" as brutal repression without any possible defense on the prisoner's 
part; the exploitation of work in the prisons; conditional freedom, the police 
record, interdiction from visiting a place; and the call to establish monitoring 
commissions that are independent of the government and prison administration. 

The fact itself of punishment and imprisonment has not yet been called into 
question; still, a front of political struggle has already moved into the prisons. 
The realization that prison is essentially about class, that it concerns above all the 
working class, and that it also has to do with the labor market (repression will be 
all the more harsh, especially on the young, to the extent that unemployment is 
a threat and their labor superfluous on the market) — these realizations are 
becoming more and more clear in the prisons. The essential principle articulat- 
ed by the inmates at Melun is that "social reinsertion of the prisoners could be 
the work only of the prisoners themselves." 

An active grass roots base inside the prison is not enough; there must be a 
grass roots base on the outside, an activist base, supporting and propagating the 
prisoners' demands. The GIP is not, as Mr. Pleven and the newspaper Minute 
would have the public believe, a subversive group inspiring the actions of pris- 
oners from the exterior. Nor as the President of the Toul Inquiry Commission 
M. Schmelck contends, is the GIP a group of intellectual dreamers. It aims to 



organize activist external help, which first must be led by former inmates and the 
families of inmates, but then must recruit more and more workers and democ- 
rats to the cause. 

In this respect also, there is something unprecedented going on. In Toul, 
Lille, Nancy, and elsewhere, a new kind of public gathering is taking place, which 
has nothing to do with the "public confession," and which is not the classical 
town meeting either: former prisoners, who have settled in the cities where they 
paid their debt to society, are coming forward to say what was done to them, 
what they saw, physical abuse, reprisals, lack of medial care, etc. This is ^person- 
alized critique, the example of which was given by Dr. Rose, whose report took 
up the prisoners' cause. 3 

This is what took place in Nancy, in an extraordinary gathering of more than 
one thousand individuals, which the press passed over in silence. 

This is what took place in Toul, where the prison guards, from the last row, 
kept shouting at the inmates; only the former inmates were able to shut them up, 
when without hesitation each explained why he went to prison and singled out 
this or that prison guard to remind him of his brutality. The phrase "I know 
him," with which the prison guards wanted to intimidate the inmates, became 
the phrase the inmates co-opted to silenced the prison guards. 

The day is coming when not one prison guard will be able to beat a prison- 
er without being publicly denounced a day or month later by his victim or a 
witness, in the very city where it has taken place. Former prisoners, and current 
prisoners alike, have ceased to be afraid and no longer feel ashamed. 

Faced with such a movement, the government has responded only with 
increased repression (the CRS is ever ready to intervene in the prisons) and 
administrative reforms (in which prisoners and former prisoners have no right to 
make themselves heard). They are giving power back to the prefects of police: 
which once again amounts to nothing more than the Minister of Justice passing 
the buck to the Minister of the Interior. The gulf between the Pleven reforms 4 
and the more moderate demands of the prisoners expresses in all their nakedness 
the relationships of class, violence, and power. 


Intellectuals and Power 1 

Michel Foucault: A Maoist told me: "I can see why Sartre is on our side, for what 
and why he is involved in politics; and you, I can even see why you do it, since 
you've always considered imprisonment a problem. But Deleuze, really, I don't see 
it." His question took me totally by surprise, because it's crystal clear to me. 

Gilles Deleuze: Maybe it's because for us the relationships between theory and 
praxis are being lived in a new way. On the one hand, praxis used to be conceived 
as an application of theory, as a consequence; on the other hand, and inversely, 
praxis was supposed to inspire theory, it was supposed to create a new form of 
theory. In any case, their relationship took the form of a process of totalization, 
in one shape or another. Maybe we're asking the question in a new way. For us 
the relationships between theory and praxis are much more fragmentary and par- 
tial. In the first place, a theory is always local, related to a limited domain, 
though it can be applied in another domain that is more or less distant. The rule 
of application is never one of resemblance. In the second place, as soon as a the- 
ory takes hold in its own domain, it encounters obstacles, walls, collisions, and 
these impediments create a need for the theory to be relayed by another kind of 
discourse (it is this other discourse which eventually causes the theory to migrate 
from one domain to another). Praxis is a network of relays from one theoretical 
point to another, and theory relays one praxis to another. A theory cannot be 
developed without encountering a wall, and a praxis is needed to break through. 
Take yourself, for example, you begin by theoretically analyzing a milieu of 
imprisonment like the psychiatric asylum of nineteenth-century capitalist soci- 
ety. Then you discover how necessary it is precisely for those who are imprisoned 
to speak on their own behalf, for them to become a relay (or perhaps you were 
already a relay for them), but these people are prisoners, they're in prison. This 
was the logic behind your creating the GIP (Group for Information on Prisons): 



to promote the conditions in which the prisoners themselves could speak. 2 It 
would be totally misguided to say, as the Maoist seemed to be saying, that you 
were making a move toward praxis by applying your theories. In your case we 
find neither an application, nor a reform program, nor an investigation in the 
traditional sense. It is something else entirely: a system of relays in an assemblage, 
in a multiplicity of bits and pieces both theoretical and practical. For us, the 
intellectual and theorist have ceased to be a subject, a consciousness, that repre- 
sents or is representative. And those involved in political struggle have ceased to 
be represented, whether by a party or a union that would in turn claim for itself 
the right to be their conscience. Who speaks and who acts? It's always a multi- 
plicity, even in the person that speaks or acts. We are all groupuscles. There is no 
more representation. There is only action, the action of theory, the action of 
praxis, in the relations of relays and networks. 

Michel Foucault: It seems to me that traditionally, an intellectual's political status 
resulted from two things: 1) the position as an intellectual in bourgeois society, in 
the system of capitalist production, in the ideology which that system produces or 
imposes (being exploited, reduced to poverty, being rejected or "cursed," being 
accused of subversion or immorality, etc.), and 2) intellectual discourse itself, in as 
much as it revealed a particular truth, uncovering political relationships where 
none were before perceived. These two forms of becoming politicized were not 
strangers to one another, but they didn't necessarily coincide either. You had the 
"cursed" intellectual, and you had the "socialist" intellectual. In certain moments 
of violent reaction, the powers that be willingly confused these two politicizations 
with one another — after 1848, after the Commune, after 1940: the intellectual was 
rejected, persecuted at the very moment when "things" began to appear in their 
naked "truth," when you were not supposed to discuss the king's new clothes. 

Since the latest resurgence, however, intellectuals realize that the masses can 
do without them and still be knowledgeable: the masses know perfectly well 
what's going on, it is perfectly clear to them, they even know better than the intel- 
lectuals do, and they say so convincingly enough. But a system of power exists to 
bar, prohibit, invalidate their discourse and their knowledge — a power located not 
only in the upper echelons of censorship, but which deeply and subtly permeates 
the whole network of society. The intellectuals are themselves part of this system 
of power, as is the idea that intellectuals are the agents of "consciousness" and dis- 
course. The role of the intellectual is no longer to situate himself "slightly ahead" 
or "slightly to one side" so he may speak the silent truth of each and all; it is rather 
to struggle against those forms of power where he is both instrument and object: 
in the order of "knowledge," "truth," "consciousness," and "discourse." 

So it is that theory does not express, translate, or apply a praxis; it is a praxis — 
but local and regional, as you say: non-totalizing. A struggle against power, a 
struggle to bring power to light and open it up wherever it is most invisible and 



insidious. Not a struggle for some "insight" or "realization" (for a long time now 
consciousness as knowledge has been acquired by the masses, and consciousness as 
subjectivity has been taken, occupied by the bourgeoisie) — but a struggle to under- 
mine and take power side by side with those who are fighting, and not off to the 
side trying to enlighten them. A "theory" is the regional system of this struggle. 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, that's what a theory is, exactly like a tool box. It has nothing 
to do with the signifier... A theory has to be used, it has to work. And not just for 
itself. If there is no one to use it, starting with the theorist himself who, as soon 
as he uses it ceases to be a theorist, then a theory is worthless, or its time has not 
yet arrived. You don't go back to a theory, you make new ones, you have others to 
make. It is strange that Proust, who passes for a pure intellectual, should articu- 
late it so clearly: use my book, he says, like a pair of glasses to view the outside, 
and if it isn't to your liking, find another pair, or invent your own, and your device 
will necessarily be a device you can fight with. A theory won't be totalized, it mul- 
tiplies. It's rather in the nature of power to totalize, and you say it exactly: theory 
is by nature opposed to power. As soon as a theory takes hold at this or that point, 
it runs up against the impossibility of having the least practical consequence with- 
out there being an explosion, at some distant point if necessary. That's why the 
idea of reform is so stupid and hypocritical. Either the reform is undertaken by 
those who claim to be representatives, whose business it is to speak for others, in 
their name, and this is how power adjusts, distributing itself along reinforced lines 
of repression. Or else the reform is demanded by those who have a stake in it, and 
then it is no longer a reform but a revolution. A revolutionary action, by virtue of 
its partial character, is determined to call into question the totality of power and 
its hierarchy. This is nowhere clearer than in the prisons: the tiniest, meekest 
demand by the prisoners is enough to kill Pleven's pseudo reform bill.-' If little 
children managed to make their protests heard in nursery school, or even simply 
their questions, it would be enough to derail the whole educational system. In 
reality, the system in which we live cannot tolerate anything, whence you see its rad- 
ical fragility at every point, and at the same time its global repression. In my 
opinion, you were the first to teach us a fundamental lesson, both in your books 
and in the practical domain: the indignity of speaking for others. What I mean is, 
we laughed at representation, saying it was over, but we didn't follow this "theo- 
retical" conversion through — namely, theory demanded that those involved 
finally have their say from a practical standpoint. 

Michel Foucault: And when the prisoners began to speak, they had their own the- 
ory of prison, punishment, and justice. What really matters is this kind of discourse 
against power, the counter-discourse expressed by prisoners or those we call crimi- 
nals, and not a discourse on criminality. The problem of imprisonment is a local 
and marginal problem, because no more than 100,000 people go through prison 



in any year. But this marginal problem shakes people up. I was surprised to see how 
many who were not in prison interested in the problem, to see so many people 
respond who were in no way predisposed to hearing this discourse, and surprised 
to see how they took it. How do you explain it? Is it not simply that, generally 
speaking, the penal system is that form where power shows itself as power in the 
most transparent way? To put someone in prison, to keep him there, deprive him 
of food and heat, keep him from going out, from making love, etc., is that not the 
most delirious form of power imaginable? The other day I was talking with a 
woman who had been in prison, and she said: "To think that one day in prison 
they punished me, a forty year old woman, by forcing me to eat stale bread." What 
is striking in this story is not only the puerility of the exercise of power, but the 
cynicism with which it is exercised as power, in a form that is archaic and infantile. 
They teach us how to be reduced to bread and water when we're kids. Prison is the 
only place where power can be exercised in all its nakedness and in its most exces- 
sive dimensions, and still justify itself as moral. "I have every right to punish 
because you know very well how evil it is to steal, to kill..." This is what is so fas- 
cinating about prisons: for once power does not hide itself, does not mask itself, 
but reveals itself as tyranny down to the most insignificant detail, cynically applied; 
and yet it's pure, it's entirely "justified," because it can be entirely formulated in a 
morality that frames its exercise: its brute tyranny thus appears as the serene dom- 
ination of Good over Evil, of order over disorder. 

Gilles Deleuze: Now that I think about it, the inverse is equally true. It's not only 
prisoners who are treated like children, but children who are treated like prison- 
ers. Children are subjected to an infantilization which is not their own. In this 
sense, schools are a little like prisons, and factories are very much like them. All 
you have to do is look at Renault's entrance. Or anywhere: you need three vouch- 
ers to go make pee-pee during the day. You uncovered a text by Jeremy Bentham 
in the eighteenth-century, a proposal for prison reform: it is in the name of this 
noble reform that Bentham establishes a circular system, where at one and the 
same time the renovated prison serves as a model, and where without noticing it, 
one moves from the school to the factory, from the factory to the prison and vice 
versa. There you have the essence of reformism, of representation which has been 
reformed. However, when people begin to speak and act in their own name, they 
don't oppose one representation, even one which has been reformed, to another 
representation; they don't oppose another mode of representation to power's false 
mode of representation. For example, I recall when you said that there was no 
popular justice against justice, it happens at another level altogether. 4 

Michel Foucault: In my view, what comes to light beneath the hatred which the 
people have for the judicial system, judges, tribunals, prisons, etc., is not only the 
idea of some other, better justice, but first and foremost the perception of a sin- 



gular point where power is exercised to the detriment of the people. The anti-judi- 
cial struggle is a struggle against power, and in my opinion it's not a struggle 
against injustice, against the injustice of the judicial system, nor is it for a judicial 
institution that would work more efficiently. Still, isn't it striking that every time 
there are riots, revolts and seditions, the judicial apparatus has come under fire, in 
the same way and at the same time as the fiscal apparatus, the army, and the other 
forms of power? My hypothesis, but it's just a hypothesis, is that popular tribunals, 
for example, those during the Revolution, have been a way for the lower middle 
class, in alliance with the masses, to recuperate and harness the movement 
unleashed by the struggle against the judicial system. To harness it, they proposed 
this system of tribunals, which defers to a justice that could be just, to a judge that 
could pronounce a just sentence. The very form of the tribunal belongs to an ide- 
ology of justice which is a bourgeois ideology. 

Gilles Deleuze: If we look at today's situation, power necessarily has a global or 
total vision. What I mean is that every form of repression today, and they are mul- 
tiple, is easily totalized, systematized from the point of view of power: the racist 
repression against immigrants, the repression in factories, the repression in schools 
and teaching, and the repression of youth in general. We mustn't look for the 
unity of these forms of repression only in reaction to May '68, but more so in a 
concerted preparation and organization concerning our immediate future. Capi- 
talism in France is dropping its liberal, paternalistic mask of full employment; it 
desperately needs a "reserve" of unemployed workers. It's from this vantage point 
that unity can be found in the forms of repression I already mentioned: the limi- 
tation of immigration, once it's understood that we're leaving the hardest and 
lowest paying jobs to them; the repression in factories, because now it's all about 
once again giving the French a taste for hard work; the struggle against youth and 
the repression in schools and teaching, because police repression must be all the 
more active now that there is less need for young people on the job market. Every 
category of professional is going to be urged to exercise police functions which are 
more and more precise: professors, psychiatrists, educators of all stripes, etc. Here 
we see something you predicted a long time ago, and which we didn't think pos- 
sible: the global reinforcement of the structures of imprisonment. So, faced with 
such a global politics of power, our response is local: counter-attacks, defensive 
fire, an active and sometimes preventative defense. We mustn't totalize what is 
totalizable only by power, and which we could totalize only by restoring the rep- 
resentative forms of centralism and hierarchy. On the other hand, what we must 
do is find a way to create lateral connections, a system of networks, a grass roots 
base. And that is what is so difficult. In any case, reality for us does not pass 
through the usual political channels in the traditional sense, i.e. competition and 
the distribution of power, like the so-called representative authorities of the 
French Communist Party or the French Trade Union. Reality is what is actually 



going on in a factory, a school, a barracks, a prison, a police station. Consequent- 
ly, action there entails a type of information of another nature altogether than 
what passes for information in the papers (such as the type of information we get 
from Liberation Press Agents). 

Michel Foucault: Doesn't this difficulty, the trouble we have finding adequate 
forms of struggle, derive in large measure from the fact that we still don't know 
what power is? After all, we had to wait till the nineteenth-century before we knew 
what exploitation was, and maybe we still don't really know what power is. Maybe 
both Marx and Freud are not enough to help us come to know this thing which 
is so enigmatic, at once visible and invisible, open and hidden, invested every- 
where, this thing we call power. The theory of the State, the traditional analysis of 
State apparatuses certainly do not exhaust the field in which power functions and 
is exercised. This is today's great unknown: who exercises power? and where? 
Today, we know more or less who does the exploiting, where the profit goes, into 
whose hands, and where it gets reinvested, whereas power... We know very well 
that power is not in the hands of those who govern. But the notion of "ruling 
class" is neither clear nor well developed. There is a whole loosely knit group of 
notions that need analysis: "dominate," "manage," "govern," "state apparatus," 
"party," etc. Similarly, we need to learn just how far power extends, through which 
relays, down to the smallest instances of hierarchy, control, surveillance, prohibi- 
tions, constraints. Power is being exercised wherever we find it. No one person, 
properly speaking, holds it; and yet it is always exercised in one direction and not 
another, by this group in this case, by this other group in this other case. We don't 
really know who has power, but we do know who doesn't. If reading your books 
(starting with Nietzsche and in anticipation of Capitalism and Schizophrenia) has 
been so crucial for me, it's because they seem to go a long way toward setting up 
this problem: using old themes like meaning and sense, signifier and signified, 
etc., to pose the questions of power, the inequality ofpowers, and their struggle. 
Every struggle develops around a particular focal point of power (one of the innu- 
merable focal points such as a boss, a security guard, a prison warden, a judge, a 
union representative, a newspaper's editor-in-chief). And if pointing out these 
focal points of power, denouncing them as such, talking about them in a public 
forum, constitutes a struggle, it's not because people were unaware of them, it's 
because speaking up on this topic, breaking into the network of institutional 
information, naming and saying who did what, is already turning the tables on 
power, it's a first step for other struggles against power. If making a speech is 
already a struggle, like those made by the medical doctors who work in prisons or 
by the inmates themselves, it's because such an action momentarily confiscates the 
prison's power to speak, which is in reality controlled exclusively by the adminis- 
tration and its accessories, the reformers. The discourse of struggle is not opposed 
to the unconscious, it's opposed to the secret. This seems a let down, but what if 



the secret were worth much more? A whole series of equivocations concerning 
what is "hidden," "repressed," "unspoken," enables a cheap "psychoanalysis" of 
what should be the object of political struggle. The secret is perhaps more diffi- 
cult to bring to light than the unconscious. The two themes which only yesterday 
we came across once again, that "writing is the repressed" and that "writing is by 
rights subversive," in my opinion betray several operations which must be severe- 
ly criticized. 

Gilles Deleuze: About the problem you just raised: that we see who does the 
exploiting, who profits, who governs, but power is still something rather diffuse — 
I would offer the following hypothesis: even Marxism, especially Marxism, has 
posed the problem in terms of interest (it is a ruling class, defined by its interests, 
that holds the power). Suddenly, we run smack into the question: how does it 
happen that those who have little stake in power follow, narrowly espouse, or grab 
for some piece of power? Perhaps it has to do with investments, as much econom- 
ic as unconscious: there exist investments of desire which explain that one can if 
necessary desire not against one's interest, since interest always follows and appears 
wherever desire places it, but desire in a way that is deeper and more diffuse than 
one's interest. We must be willing to hear Reich's cry: No, the masses were not 
fooled, they wanted fascism at a particular moment! There are certain investments 
of desire that shape power, and diffuse it, such that power is located as much at 
the level of a cop as that of a prime minister: there is absolutely no difference in 
nature between the power wielded by a cop and that wielded by a politician. It is 
precisely the nature of the investments of desire that explains why parties or 
unions, which would or should have revolutionary investments in the name of 
class interest, all too often have investments which are reformist or totally reac- 
tionary at the level of desire. 

Michel Foucault: As you point out, the relationships among desire, power, and 
interest are more complex than we ordinarily imagine, and it is not necessarily those 
who exercise power that have an interest in exercising it; those who have an interest 
in exercising it don't necessarily, and the desire of power plays a game between power 
and interest which is quite singular. When fascism comes into play, it happens that 
the masses want particular people to exercise power, but those particular people are 
not to be confused with the masses, since power will be exercised on the masses and 
at their expense, all the way to their death, sacrifice, and massacre, and yet the mass- 
es want it, they want this power to be exercised. The play of desire, power and 
interest is still relatively unknown. It took a long time to know what exploitation 
was. And desire, it has been and promises still to be a lengthy affair. It's possible that 
the struggles now under way, and the local, regional, discontinuous theories being 
elaborated in the course of these struggles, and which are absolutely of a piece with 
them, are just beginning to uncover the way in which power is exercised. 



Gilles Deleuze: So I come back to the question: today's tevolutionary movement 
has multiple focal points, and this isn't a weakness, it isn't a deficiency, since a par- 
ticular totalization belongs rather to power and its reaction; Vietnam, for example, 
is a formidable local response. But how do you view the networks, the transversal 
connections between discontinuous active points from one country to another or 
within the same country? 

Michel Foucault: This geographic discontinuity you've mentioned perhaps means 
that the moment we struggle against exploitation, the proletariat not only leads 
the struggle but defines the targets, methods, places and instruments of struggle; 
to make an alliance with the proletariat is to embrace its positions, its ideology; 
we effectively assume the motivations of its fight. We all melt together. But if we 
choose to struggle against power, then all those who suffer the abuses of power, all 
those who recognize power as intolerable, can engage in the struggle wherever 
they happen to be and according to their own activity or passivity. By engaging in 
this struggle which is their own (they are perfectly familiar with its targets, and 
they themselves determine the methods), these people enter the revolutionary 
process — as allies of the proletariat, of course, since power is exercised in the way 
that maintains capitalist exploitation. These people truly serve the cause of the 
proletariat revolution by fighting precisely at that point where they suffer oppres- 
sion. Women, prisoners, conscripts, homosexuals, the sick in hospitals have, as we 
speak, each begun a specific struggle against the particular form of power, con- 
straint, control being exercised over them. Such struggles belong to the 
revolutionary movement today, provided they are radical, without compromise or 
reformism, provided they do not attempt to readjust the same power through, at 
most, a change of leadership. And these movements are connected to the revolu- 
tionary movement of the proletariat itself insofar as the proletariat must fight 
every control and constraint which are the conduits of power everywhere. 

In other words, the generality of the struggle most certainly does not occur in 
the form you mentioned before: theoretical totalization in the form of the "truth." 
What constitutes the generality of the struggle is the system of power itself, all the 
forms in which it is exercised and applied. 

Gilles Deleuze: And one cannot make the slightest demand whatsoever on any 
point of application without being confronted by the diffuse whole, such that as 
soon as you do, you are necessarily led to a desire to explode it. Every partial rev- 
olutionary attack or defense in this way connects up with the struggle of the 
working class. 


Remarks (on Jean-Frangois Lyotard) 1 

Lyotard's book is at once dispersed, flying off in every direction, and yet as self- 
contained as an egg. The text is both full of gaps and tight, both adrift and 
moored. Discours, Figure: the figures, even the illustrations, are an integral part 
of the discourse; they slip into the discourse, while the discourse turns back on 
the operations that make figures possible. This book is built on two heteroge- 
neous expanses that do not mirror one another, though they do assure a free 
circulation of writing energy (or desire?). An egg, a variable interior in the mid- 
dle, on a mobile surface. A schizo-book which through its complex technique, 
achieves the highest degree of clarity. Like every great book, difficult to write, but 
not difficult to read. 

The importance of this book is that it marks the first generalized critique of 
the signifier. It tackles this notion which for so long has exerted a kind of terror- 
ism in literature, and has even contaminated art or our comprehension of art. 
Finally, a little fresh air in those musty spaces. The book shows how the signifi- 
er-signified relation is surpassed in two directions: 1) Towards the exterior, on the 
side of designation, by those figure-images, because it is not words that are signs, 
but they make signs with the objects they designate, whose identity they break 
open to discover a hidden content, another face which we will not be able to see, 
but which yet will make us "see" the word (I am thinking of those beautiful pages 
on dance as designation, and the visibility of the word, the word as visible thing, 
as distinct from both its legibility and its audition); but the signifier-signified 
relation is again surpassed in another way: 2) Towards the interior of discourse, 
by a. pure figural which upsets the coded gaps of the signifier, works its way into 
them, and there labors under the conditions of the identity of their elements (the 
pages on the dream work, which violates the order of speech and crumples the 
text, creating new unities that are not linguistic, like so many rebuses under 



Lyotard's book on every page participates in an anti-dialectic that performs a 
total reversal of the figure-signifier relation. It is not the figures that depend on 
the signifier and its effects; on the contrary, it is the signifying chain that depends 
on figural effects, creating variable configurations of images with non-figurative 
figures, causing lines to flow and breaking them according to singular points, 
crushing and twisting signifiers as well as signifieds. And Lyotard does not even 
say all this, he shows it, he makes us see it, he makes it visible and mobile: a 
destruction of identities that carries us off on a profound journey. 


Deleuze and Guattari Fight Back. 

Maurice Nadeau: Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari would very much like to 
begin this round-table by taking your questions. I would just ask them to 
explain briefly the thesis of their book, and then tell us how they carried out 
their collaboration. 

Felix Guattari: This collaboration is not the product of a simple meeting of two 
individuals. Aside from a variety of circumstances, there was a whole political 
context that led up to it. Initially, it was less a question of pooling our knowl- 
edge than an accumulation of our uncertainties; we were confused about the 
turn of events after May '68. 

We both belong to that generation whose political consciousness awoke 
during the Liberation, in the enthusiasm and naivete and the conspiracy myths 
of fascism that came with it. Also, the questions left unanswered by the abort- 
ed revolution in May '68 developed in a counter-point that we found troubling: 
we were worried, like many others, about the future being prepared for us by 
those singing the hymns of a newly made-over fascism that would make you 
wish for the Nazis of the old days. 

Our starting point was to consider how during these crucial periods, some- 
thing along the order of desire was manifested throughout the society as a 
whole, and then was repressed, liquidated, as much by the government and 
police as by the parties and so-called workers unions and, to a certain extent, 
the leftist organizations as well. 

And certainly we would have to go way back in history! The history of 
betrayed revolutions, betraying the desires of the masses, is quite simply the 
history of the workers movement. Whose fault is that? Beria's? Stalin's? 
Kruschev's? This was not the program, organization, alliance we hoped for. 
Marx wasn't read sufficiently in the original... Obviously. But this brute fact 



remains: the revolution was possible, the socialist revolution was within reach. 
It truly exists and is not some myth that has been invalidated by the transfor- 
mations of industrial societies. 

Given the right conditions, the masses express a revolutionary will. Their desires 
clear away all obstacles and open up new horizons. But the last to realize it are the 
organizations and leaders who are supposed to represent them. Clearly! But then 
why do the masses pay them any mind? Could it be the result of an unconscious 
complicity, an internalization of repression that works in successive stages, from 
Power to the bureaucrats, from the bureaucrats to the militants, and from the mili- 
tants to the masses themselves? This is what we witnessed after May '68. 

Fortunately, the attempt to recuperate and brainwash the masses has spared 
some tens of thousands — maybe more — who are now immune to the ill effects of 
bureaucracies of all kinds, and who intend to retaliate against the repressive dirty 
tricks of power and its bosses, against their maneuvers of dialogue, participation, 
and integration, which rely on the complicity of traditional workers organizations. 

Admittedly, the current attempts to renew forms of popular struggle are 
difficult to wrest from the grip of boredom and revolutionary boy-scouts who, 
to say the least, are not too concerned with a systematic liberation of desire! 
"Desire! That's all you ever talk about!" This ruffles the feathers of the serious 
types, the responsible militants. We are certainly not going to suggest that 
desire be taken seriously. We would much rather undermine the spirit of seri- 
ousness, beginning with the domain of theoretical inquiry. A theory of desire 
in history should be presented as something not too serious. And from this 
standpoint, perhaps Anti-Oedipus is still too serious a book, too intimidating. 
The work of theory should no longer be the business of specialists. The desire 
of a theory and its propositions should stick as closely as possible to the event 
and the expression of the masses. To achieve this, we must knit a new breed of 
intellectual, a new breed of analyst, a new breed of militant: blending the dif- 
ferent types and running them together. 

We started with the idea that desire must not be conceived as a subjective 
superstructure that is more or less occluded. Desire never stops investing history, 
even in its darkest periods. The German masses had come to desire Nazism. After 
Wilhelm Reich, we cannot avoid coming to grips with this fact. Under certain 
conditions, the desire of the masses can turn against their own interests. What 
are those conditions? That is the question. 

To formulate an answer, we realized that we couldn't just hook a Freudian 
engine up to the Marxist-Leninist train. We first had to undo a stereotypical hier- 
archy between an opaque economic infrastructure and social-ideological 
superstructures conceived in such a way that they confine the questions of sex and 
expression to representation, as far away from production as possible. The rela- 
tions of production and those of reproduction participate in the same pairing of 
productive forces and anti-productive structures. We wanted to move desire into 



the infrastructure, on the side of production, while we moved the family, the ego, 
and the individual on the side of anti-production. This is the only way to ensure 
that sexuality is not completely cut off from the economy. 

In our view, there exists a desiring production prior to any actualization in the 
familial division of the sexes and individuals or in the social division of labor, and 
this production invests the diverse forms of the production of pleasure as well as 
the structures intended to repress them. Though it obeys different regimes, the 
desiring energy found in the revolutionary aspect of history — with the working 
class, the sciences and the arts — is the same as that found in the aspect of exploita- 
tion and how it relates to State power. Both aspects presuppose the unconscious 
participation of the oppressed. 

If it is true that the social revolution is inseparable from a revolution of desire, 
then this changes the question. We now must ask: what conditions will enable the 
revolutionary avant-garde to free itself from its unconscious complicity in repres- 
sive structures, and undermine Power's manipulations of the desire of the masses 
who "fight for their servitude as though it were their salvation"? If the family and 
the ideologues of the family have a crucial role to play here, as we believe they do, 
then one cannot overestimate the function of psychoanalysis in this respect, since 
it was the first to raise these questions — and the first to stifle them, privileging 
instead the modern myth of familial repression through Oedipus and castration. 

To make progress in this direction, we feel it necessary to abandon an 
approach to the unconscious through neurosis and the family, and to adopt 
instead an approach more specific to the schizophrenic process of desiring- 
machines — and this process has little to do with institutionalized madness. 

From that point on, a militant struggle becomes imperative against reductive 
explanations, against the adaptive techniques of suggestion based on the Oedipal 
triangle. This entails giving up on the compulsive grasping after a total object, sym- 
bolic of every despotism. It entails going over to the side of real multiplicities, and 
ceasing to oppose human beings to machine, whose relationship in fact constitutes 
desire. It entails promoting an other logic: a logic of real desire which establishes 
the primacy of history over structure. It entails promoting a whole other analysis 
disentangled from symbolism and interpretation, as well as a whole other militan- 
cy with the means to free itself from the fantasies of the dominant order. 

Gilles Deleuze: As for the technical side of writing the book, the two of us working 
together was not a problem, but it did serve a precise function, as we came to real- 
ize. One thing is rather shocking about books of psychiatry or even psychoanalysis, 
and that is the pervasive duality between what an alleged mental patient says and 
what the doctor reports — between the "case" and the commentary on the case, the 
analysis of the case. It's logos against pathos: the mental patient is supposed to say 
something, and the doctor says what it means in terms of symptoms or sense. This 
allows what the patient says to be crushed. It's hypocritically selective. 



Now we didn't think for a minute of writing a madman's book, but we did 
write a book in which you no longer know who is speaking: there is no basis for 
knowing whether it's a doctor, a patient, or some present, past, or future madman 

This is precisely why we used so many writers and poets: you would have to 
be really clever to decide whether they speak as mental patients or doctors — men- 
tal patients and doctors of civilization. Strangely enough, if we tried to get beyond 
this traditional duality, it's because there were two of us writing. Neither of us was 
the madman, and neither the doctor: there had to be two of us if we were to 
uncover a process that would not be reducible to the psychiatrist and his mental 
patient, or to the mental patient and his psychiatrist. 

This process is what we call a flow. But, again, flow is an everyday, unquali- 
fied notion that we needed. It can be a flow of words, a flow of ideas, a flow of 
shit, a flow of money. It can be a financial mechanism or a schizophrenic machine: 
it surpasses all duality. We imagined this book as a flow-book. 

Maurice Nadeau: Indeed, in your first chapter, there is this notion of a "desiring- 
machine," which is obscure to the layman and needs to be defined. Especially 
since it answers everything, suffices for everything... 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, we've given the notion of machine its maximum extension: 
in relation to flows. We define the machine as any system that interrupts flows. 
So, sometimes we're referring to technological machines, in the ordinary sense of 
the word, and sometimes to social machines, and sometimes to desiring- 
machines. In our view, the machine is not opposed to humanity or nature (you 
would really have to persuade us that the forms and relations of production are 
not machines). Furthermore, machine is not reducible to mechanism. Mechanism 
serves to designate specific processes in certain technological machines, or else a 
specific organization of a living being. But machinism is totally different: again, it 
is any system that interrupts flows, and it goes beyond both the mechanism of 
technology and the organization of the living being, whether in nature, society, or 
human beings. A desiring-machine is a non-organic system of the body, and this 
is what we mean when we talk about molecular machines or micro-machines. 

More specifically, in reference to psychoanalysis, we have two criticisms: 1) 
psychoanalysis does not understand what delirium is, because it does not see how 
delirium invests the social field in its widest extension; and 2) it does not under- 
stand that this is desire, because it fails to grasp that the unconscious is a factory, 
and not a theatre. If psychoanalysis misunderstands both delirium and desire, 
what is left? These two criticisms are one and the same: we're interested in the 
presence of desiring-machines, molecular micro-machines and the large molar 
social machines — how they interact and work in one another. 



Raphael Pividal: If you're going to define your book in terms of desire, I want to 
know how this book reponds to desire. Which desire? Whose desire? 

Gilles Deleuze: It's not as a book that it could respond to desire, but only in rela- 
tion to what surrounds it. A book is not worth much on its own. It's always a 
question of flow: there are many people doing similar work in other fields. And 
there are the younger generations, too. I doubt they will buy the current type of 
discourse, at once epistemological, psychoanalytical, and ideological, which is 
beginning to wear thin with everyone. 

What we're saying is this: take advantage of Oedipus and castration while you 
still can, it won't last forever. Until now psychoanalysis has been spared: psychia- 
try was attacked, along with the psychiatric hospital. Psychoanalysis seemed 
untouchable and uncompromised. But we want to show that psychoanalysis is 
worse than the hospital, precisely because it operates in the pores of capitalist soci- 
ety and not in the special places of confinement. And that it's profoundly 
reactionary in theory and practice, not just ideologically. Psychoanalysis fulfils 
precise functions in this society. 

Felix thinks our book is addressed to people who are now somewhere between 
the ages of seven and fifteen. Ideally so, because the fact is the book is still too dif- 
ficult, too cultivated, and makes too many compromises. We weren't able to make 
it clearer and more direct. However, I'll just point out that the first chapter, which 
many favorable readers have said is too difficult, does not require any prior knowl- 
edge. In any case, a book responds to a desire only because there are many other 
people fed up with a current type of discourse. So, it is only because the book par- 
ticipates in a larger reshuffling, a resonance between research and desire. A book 
can respond to a desire only in a political way, outside the book. For example, an 
association of angry users of psychoanalysis wouldn't be a bad place to start. 

Francois Chatelet: What strikes me as important here is the eruption of such a 
text among books of philosophy (because this book is conceived as a book of phi- 
losophy). Anti-Oedipus smashes everything. In an exterior way at first, by the very 
"form" of the text: "curse words" are used in the first sentence, as though to pro- 
voke the reader. At first you think it can't go on, and then it does. There are 
nothing but "coupled machines," and these "coupled machines" are particularly 
obscene or scatological. 

Furthermore, I felt this eruption as an eruption of materialism. It's been too 
long since we've witnessed such a thing. Methodology, I have to admit, is starting 
to bug the shit out of me. The whole enterprise of research and furthering knowl- 
edge is ruined by the imperialism of methodology. I fell into the trap myself, so I 
know what I'm talking about. Anyway, if I call it a materialist eruption, I'm think- 
ing primarily of Lucretius. I don't know if I'm flattering you — perhaps too much, 
or not enough. 



Gilles Deleuze: If it's true, excellent. That would be perfect. In any case, there is 
no methodological problem in our book. Nor any problem of interpretation, 
because the unconscious doesn't mean anything. Machines don't mean anything, 
they merely work, produce, break down. What we're after is only how something 
works in the real. 

Nor is there an epistemological problem: we're not worried about a return to 
Freud, or to Marx. If they tell us we've misunderstood Freud, we'll say: "Ooh well, 
we have too much else to do." It's interesting how epistemology has always been 
a cover for an imposition of power, an organization of power, a kind of ideologi- 
cal technocracy at the university level. In our view, writing or thought has no 
specificity whatsoever. 

Roger Dadoun: Up to this point, the discussion has taken place at a "molar" 
level — to use a dichotomy fundamental to your interpretation — that is, the level 
of major conceptual schema. We have yet to break through to the "molecular" 
level, that is, the micro-analyses that would allow us to grasp how you "machined" 
your work together. This would be particularly useful for the analysis — a schizo- 
analysis, perhaps? — of the political parts of your text. In particular, I would like 
to know how fascism and May '68, the dominant "note" of the book, entered into 
its make-up — not in a "molar" way, that's too banal, but in a "molecular" way, in 
the very construction of the text. 

Serge Leclaire: Since you bring it up, I get the feeling that the book is machined 
in such a way that any intervention "on a molecular level" will be digested by the 
machine of the book. 

I think your intention to write "a book in which every possible duality would 
be suppressed," an intention you just reaffirmed, has succeeded beyond your 
wildest dreams. The book puts your more perceptive readers in the situation of a 
single and unique perspective that leaves them feeling absorbed, digested, bound, 
even negated by the admirable workings of your so-called machine! 

So, this is a dimension that puzzles me and something I would gladly ask 
you about: What is the function of this machine-book, since it too seems, from 
the start, perfectly totalizing, absorbing, in a way that integrates, absorbs any 
question which we might try to raise? First, it seems to put the reader in the sit- 
uation of feeling cornered, by the simple fact of speaking and asking a question. 

Why don't we do the experiment right now, if you don't mind, let's see 
what happens. 

One of the essential pieces of the desiring-machine, if I have understood 
you correctly, is the "partial object." For someone who has not yet managed to 
strip off the vestiges of psychoanalysis, this concept simply recalls a psychoana- 
lytic concept, Klein's partial object — even if, as you claim with a touch of 
humor, you're "laughing at concepts." 



In your use of the partial object as an essential piece of the desiring- 
machine, I noticed something very important: you indeed try to define it. You 
say: the partial object can be defined only positively. That's a surprise to me. 
How does the positive qualification essentially differ from the negative impu- 
tation that you criticize? 

Most importantly, the least psychoanalytic experience makes it clear that the 
partial object can be defined only "by difference" and "in relation to the signifier." 

In this case, if I may say so, your "contraption" can only miss its object (Look! 
The banished lack pops up again!): even though your contraption is written, as a 
book is, it claims to be a text without a signifier, a text to speak the truth about 
the truth, sticking close to some alleged real, to put it simply. As though that were 
possible, without any distance or any mediation. A text from which all duality (in 
theory) has been expunged. OK. A contraption of this sort can have its use; only 
time will tell. As for the good news it claims to bring society, and much better 
than psychoanalysis can, I repeat, your contraption can only miss its object. 

In my opinion, you yourselves have disarmed your desiring-machine, which 
should work only by breaking down, through its failures and backfires: whereas 
thanks to this "positive" object and the absence of any duality, as well as any lack, 
it is going to work like., .a Swiss clock! 

Felix Guattari: I don't think the object should be situated positively or negative- 
ly: you have to think of it as participating in non-totalizable multiplicities. The 
object is only mistakenly inscribed as a complete body such as the body proper, 
or even the fragmented body. When Jacques Lacan opens up the series of partial 
objects to the voice and the gaze, beyond the breast and the buttocks, he signals 
his refusal to close them off and reduce them to the body. The voice and the gaze 
escape the body, for example, as they and audiovisual machines become increas- 
ingly contiguous. 

I'll leave aside for now the question of how Lacan's phallic function, in so far as 
it over-codes each partial object, does not give them back a particular identity, and 
how, distributing a lack to each, does not call on another form of totalization, this 
time in the symbolic order. Whatever the case may be, it seems to me that Lacan 
always strove to disentangle the object of desire from all totalizing referents that 
might threaten it: beginning with the mirror-stage, the libido escapes the "substan- 
tialist hypothesis" and symbolic identification supplants an exclusive reference to the 
organism; tied down to the function of speech and to the field of language, the drive 
shatters the framework of those topics closed in on themselves, whereas the theory 
of the object "a" perhaps sows the destruction of the signifiers totalitarianism. 

As object "a," the partial object is de-totalized and deterritorialized; it has per- 
manently distanced itself from any individuated corporeity; and it is now in a 
position to tip in the direction of real singularities and open up to the molecular 
machinisms of every kind that shape history. 



Gilles Deleuze: Yes, isn't it strange? Leclaire saying our machine works too well, 
that it is capable of digesting anything and everything? This is precisely our crit- 
icism of psychoanalysis, so it's strange that a psychoanalyst would accuse us of 
that very thing. I mention it only because we have a particular relationship to 
Leclaire: he wrote a text on "La realite du desir" 2 which, prior to our efforts, goes 
a long way toward a machinic unconscious, uncovering certain ultimate ele- 
ments of the unconscious that are no longer figurative or structural. 

But it seems we're not in perfect agreement here, since Leclaire says we have 
no idea what the partial object is. He says it's not important to define it posi- 
tively or negatively because, no matter what, it is always something else; it is 
"different." But we're not all that interested in the category of object, partial or 
otherwise. It is by no means clear that desire has anything to do with objects. 
We're talking about machines, flows, levies, detachments, residues. We're doing 
a critique of the partial object. And certainly Leclaire is right to say it doesn't 
matter whether the partial object is defined positively or negatively. But he is 
right only in theory. Because if we examine how the partial object works, if we 
ask ourselves what psychoanalysis actually does with it, how psychoanalysis 
makes it work, then knowing whether it fulfils a positive or negative function is 
no longer a matter of indifference. 

Yes or no: Does psychoanalysis use the partial object to ground its ideas of 
lack, absence, or the signifier of absence, and to legitimate its operations of cas- 
tration? Even when it invokes notions of difference or the different, 
psychoanalysis uses the partial object in a negative way to weld desire to a fun- 
damental lack. This is our critique: psychoanalysis has this pious conception of 
itself; through lack and castration, it makes itself out to be a kind of negative 
theology which entails calling on infinite resignation (the Law, the impossible, 
etc.). This is what we oppose. And in its place we propose a positive conception 
of desire: a desire that produces, not a desire that is lacking. Psychoanalysts are 
too self-righteous. 

Serge Leclaire: I won't reject your critique any more than I acknowledge its 
pertinence. I just want to point out that it seems to be based on the hypothe- 
sis of a real which is somewhat... totalitarian: no signifier, no flaw, no fissure, 
no castration. In the end, one wonders what makes the "true difference" you 
invoke between pages 61 and 99. According to you, it must be situated. ..let's 
see, not between... 

Gilles Deleuze: ...the imaginary and the symbolic... 

Serge Leclaire: ...but between the real on the one hand, which you present as 
the ground, the underlying element, and on the other hand, something like 
superstructures such as the imaginary and the symbolic. In my view, however, 



the question of "true difference" is in fact a question raised by the problem of 
the object. Just a moment ago, Felix, you brought it up, in reference to Lacan's 
teachings: you situated the object "a" in relation to the "ego," the person, etc. 

Felix Guattari: ... the person and the family... 

Serge Leclaire: Yes, but the concept of the object "a" in Lacan belongs in a fourfold 
structure that includes the signifier, which is dual (SI and S2), and the subject 
(crossed-out S). True difference, if we are going to use this term, must be situated 
between the signifier on the one hand, and the object "a" on the other. 

I will concede that for pious or impious reasons, whatever, at no point is it 
advisable to use the term signifier. In any case, I don't see how in this instance 
you can reject any and all duality and privilege the object "a" as somehow self- 
sufficient, like a cheap substitute for an impious God. In my view, there is no 
thesis, no project, no action or "contraption" that you can defend without intro- 
ducing a lack somewhere and everything that it entails. 

Felix Guattari: I'm not at all sure that the object "a" in Lacan is anything other than 
a vanishing point, a leak, an escape from the despotic character of signifying chains. 

Serge Leclaire: What interests me most and what I am trying to articulate in a 
way obviously different from yours, is how desire unfolds in the social machine. 
I don't think we can do without a precise clarification of the object's function. 
We would have to specify its relations to the other elements at work in the social 
machine, "signifying" elements, properly speaking (or if you prefer, symbolic 
and imaginary elements). These relations are not uni-directional. In other 
words, the "signifying" elements also have an effect on the object. 

If we want to understand what is happening with desire in the social 
machine, we cannot avoid going through the narrow pass which the object rep- 
resents at present. It's not enough to say everything is desire, you have to show 
how it happens. One last question: what's the use of your contraption*. 

What relation can there be between the fascination of a flawless machine 
and the genuine inspiration of a revolutionary project? This is the question I'm 
asking, on the level of action. 

Roger Dadoun: In any case, your machine or "contraption" works. It works real- 
ly well in literature: for example, it helps capture the flow or "schizo" circulation 
of Artaud's Heliogabalus; and it delves deeper into the bipolar schizoid / paranoid 
movement of an author like Romain Rolland; it works for a psychoanalysis of 
dreams, too — you know, Freud's dream, "Irma's injection," which is theatrical in 
almost a technical sense, or cinematic, with all the staging, close-ups, etc. It 
remains to be seen how well it operates in terms of children... 



Henri Torrubia: I work in a psychiatric ward, and I would like to underline one 
of the central points of your thesis on schizo-analysis. In my view, the argu- 
ments you muster to affirm the priority of social investment and the productive 
and revolutionary essence of desire are truly eye-opening. They raise genuine 
theoretical, practical, and ideological problems, so you have to be prepared for 
a defensive reaction. 

In any event, employing an analytic psychology in a psychiatric establish- 
ment demands that "each person" be able to question the institutional network; 
otherwise, it's a waste of time, and even in the best circumstances, it doesn't go 
anywhere. In the current climate, one could never hope to get anywhere. That 
being the case, whenever an essential conflict emerges somewhere, when some- 
thing goes awry — which is precisely an indication that something at the level of 
desiring production is able to manifest itself and challenge the social field and 
its institutions — then we see a panic reaction set in, and resistance is organized. 
This resistance takes different forms: meetings are called to synthesize develop- 
ments, to coordinate efforts, to sum things up, etc. And in a much more subtle 
way, the classical psychoanalytic interpretation has its usual effect — crushing 
desire, as you say. 

Raphael Pividal: I'd like to say something to Serge Leclaire: you've spoken at 
length, but you failed to address what Guattari is saying. Because the book fun- 
damentally examines your profession, the practice of analysis, you understand 
the problem in a partial way. You acknowledge the problem only by drowning it 
in the jargon of your theories, in which you accord greater importance to 
fetishism, that is, the partial object. You hide behind this jargon to quibble over 
details. Everything in Anti-Oedipus that concerns the birth of the State, the role of 
the State, schizophrenia, etc., you pass over in silence. Your day-to-day practice — 
this, too, you pass over in silence. And the real problem of psychoanalysis — the 
patient — you pass over in silence. Of course, you are not on trial here. However, 
these are the issues you must address: the relationship of psychoanalysis to the 
State, to capitalism, to history, and to schizophrenia. 

Serge Leclaire: I agree with the aim you propose. I only insisted on this one pre- 
cise point, the object, to emphasize by a concrete example how their 
contraption's type of functioning is produced. 

Having said that, I don't entirely reject the criticism Deleuze and Guattari 
level against the concealment, the crushing of the psychoanalytic discovery: 
indeed nothing, or almost nothing, has been said about the relation of psy- 
choanalytic practice or schizophrenia to the political or social field. But it's not 
enough to announce your intention to do so. It must be done in a felicitous 
manner. Our two authors had a go at it, and it's their attempt that we're dis- 
cussing here. 



Let me remind you of what I said. In my view, the correct approach to the 
problem passes through an extremely precise corridor: the place of the object, 
and the function of the drive in a social formation. 

And let me just say this about the argument — "it works" — advanced to 
defend the felicity of this machine, the book under discussion. Of course it 
works! I was going to say that to a certain extent, it works for me too. It's no 
secret that almost any theoretically invested practice has some chance of work- 
ing, at least to begin with. That is not in itself a criterion of success. 

Roger Dadoun: Certainly a problem which your book raises is how it is going 
to work politically, since you conceptualize the political domain as a primary 
"machination." It is just a question of examining the thoroughness and detail 
with which you analyzed the "socius, " especially its ethnographic and anthropo- 
logical aspects. 

Pierre Clastres: A philosopher and a psychoanalyst, Deleuze and Guattari, 
have together produced a reflection on capitalism. To think about capitalism, 
they go through schizophrenia, in which they see the effect and the limit of our 
society. And to think about schizophrenia, they go through Oedipal psycho- 
analysis. But like Attila the Hun, there is not much left in their wake. Between 
these two, that is, between the description of familialism (the Oedipal triangle) 
and the schizo-analysis project, you find the largest chapter in Anti-Oedipus: 
"Savages, Barbarians, and Civilizations," which is essentially about those soci- 
eties which ethnologists have traditionally studied. What is ethnology doing 

It ensures the coherence of their enterprise by shoring up their argument 
with non-Western examples (taking into account primitive societies and bar- 
barian empires). If the authors had been content to say: capitalism works in 
this particular way, but other societies work differently — we would never have 
left the most banal form of comparison. But this is not the case. They show 
"how the unconscious [ca] works differently." Anti-Oedipus is also a general 
theory of society and societies. In other words, Deleuze and Guattari have writ- 
ten about Savages and Barbarians what ethnologists up to now have not. 

It is certainly true (we didn't write it, but we knew it) that the world of Sav- 
ages is a place where flows are encoded: nothing escapes the control of 
primitive societies, and if something like a runaway train occurs — it hap- 
pens — these societies always find a way to stop it. It is also true that imperial 
formations impose an over-encoding on the savage elements integrated into 
the empire, though without necessarily destroying the encoding of the flows 
that persist at the local level for each element. The example of the Incan 
Empire perfectly illustrates Deleuze and Guattari's point of view. They say 
some interesting things about the system of cruelty as writing on the Savage 



body, about writing as a mode of the system of terror among the Barbarians. I 
think ethnologists will feel perfectly at home in Anti-Oedipus. That doesn't 
mean everything will be accepted right away. I can see there will be some reti- 
cence, to say the least, about their preference for a theory that posits the 
priority of a genealogy of debt over the accepted structuralist theory of 
exchange. We might also ask whether the idea of Earth doesn't overwhelm the 
idea of territory. In any case, Deleuze and Guattari are not laughing at ethnol- 
ogists: they're asking us real questions, questions to make us think. 

Is this some return to an evolutionist interpretation of history? A return to 
Marx, beyond Morgan? Not at all. Marxism could get its bearings among the 
Barbarians (the Asiatic mode of production), but it never quite knew what to 
do with Savages. Why? Because if the Marxist perspective indeed explains the 
movement from barbarism (oriental despotism or feudalism) to civilization 
(capitalism), it is powerless to explain the movement from savagery to bar- 
barism. There is nothing in territorial machines (primitive societies) that 
would indicate or prefigure what comes next: no caste-system, no class, no 
exploitation, not even labor (if labor is essentially alienation). So where does 
History come from? And class-struggle? Deterritorialization, etc.? 

Deleuze and Guattari have an answer to this question, because they do 
know what to do with Savages. And their answer, in my view, is the strongest 
and most rigorous discovery in Anti-Oedipus: the " Urstaat, " the cold monster, 
the nightmare, the State, which is the same everywhere and which "has always 
existed." Yes, the State exists in the most primitive societies, even in the small- 
est band of nomadic hunters. It exists, but it is ceaselessly warded off. It is 
ceaselessly prevented from becoming a reality. A primitive society directs all its 
efforts toward preventing its chief from becoming a chief (and that can go as 
far as murder). If history is the history of class struggle (I mean, in societies 
that have classes), then the history of classless societies is the history of their 
struggle against the latent State. Their history is the effort to encode the flows 
of power. 

Of course, Anti-Oedipus doesn't tell us why the primitive machine, here 
and there, failed to encode the flows of power, this death which keeps rising 
from within. Indeed there is no reason why the tribe should permit its chief to 
act the part at all (there are plenty of examples to support this). So, where does 
the "Urstaat" come from? How does it emerge fully formed and all at once? It 
must come from the outside, and we can hope that the follow-up to Anti-Oedi- 
pus will have more to say about it. 

Encoding, over-coding, decoding, flows: these categories establish the the- 
ory of society, whereas the idea of the " Urstaat, " warded off or triumphant, 
establishes the theory of history. What we have here is a radically new thought, 
a revolutionary reflection. 



Pierre Rose: For me, what proves the practical importance of Deleuze and Guat- 
tari's book is that it repudiates the virtues of commentary. This book wages war. 
It's about the situation of the working classes and Power. Deleuze and Guattari use 
an oblique approach through a critique of the analytic institution, but the ques- 
tion cannot be reduced to that. 

"The unconscious is politics," said Lacan in '67. This was analysis's bid for 
universality. It's when analysis takes on politics, that it most blatantly legitimates 
oppression. This is a sleight-of-hand which transforms the subversion of the 
alledgedly knowing Subject into submission before a new transcendental trinity: 
Law, Signifier, and Castration: "Death is the life of the Spirit, what's the point of 
revolting?" The question of Power was erased by the conservative irony of 
Hegelianism on the right, which undermines the question of the unconscious, 
from Kojeve to Lacan. 

At least this legacy had high standards. More sordid is the tradition of the the- 
ory of ideologies, which haunted Marxist theory since The Second International, 
that is, since the thought of Jules Guesde crushed the thought of Fourier. This, 
too, is over. 

What the Marxists never managed to overcome is the theory of reflection, or 
what had been made of it. Still, the Leninist metaphor of the "little screw" in "the 
big machine" is illuminating: the reversal of Power in people's minds is a trans- 
formation that is produced in every gear and wheel of the social machine. 

The Maoist "ideological revolution" — thanks to how it breaks with the 
mechanical opposition between political-economy and ideology — sweeping away 
the reduction of desire to "politics" (Parliament and party struggle), as well as the 
reduction of politics to discourse (speeches by the leader), in order to restore the 
reality of multiple wars on multiple fronts, is the only method that even comes 
close to the critique of the State in Anti-Oedipus. There is no way that a critical 
project set in motion by Anti-Oedipus can become a university industry, just 
another lucrative activity for the whirling dervishes of Being and Time. The effect 
of Anti-Oedipus has been wrested from the instruments of Power and delivered 
back to the real: the book can only reinforce the assaults against the police, jus- 
tice, the army, and State power, in the factory and beyond. 

Gilles Deleuze: I think what Pividal said just a moment ago, and what Pierre just 
said, is right on target. For us, the essential thing is the relation of desiring- 
machines and social machines, their different regimes, and their immanence with 
respect to one another. In other words, how is unconscious desire invested in a 
social, economic and political field? How does sexuality, or what Leclaire might 
call choice of sexual objects, merely express these investments, whereas in reality 
these investments are investments of flow? How do our love affairs derive from 
universal history and not mommy and daddy? A whole social field is invested 
through a man or a woman that we love, and this investment happens in a vari- 



ety of ways. So, we try to show how the flows invest different social fields, what 
they are flowing on, and by what means they are invested: encoding, over-coding, 

Can one say that psychoanalysis has touched on any of this in the slightest? 
For example, its ridiculous explanations of fascism: it would have everything 
derive from images of the father and mother, or from familial and pious signifiers 
like the Name-of-the-Father. Serge Leclaire says that it is no proof that our system 
works, because anything and everything works. True enough. That's what we're 
saying: Oedipus and castration work like a charm. But we want to know what are 
their effects: they work but at what price? It is certain that psychoanalysis pacifies 
and mollifies, that it teaches us resignation we can live with. But we're saying it 
has usurped its reputation for promoting, or even participating in, any effective 
liberation. It has smashed the phenomena of desire onto a familial stage, and 
crunched the whole economic and political dimension of libido into a conformist 
code. As soon as the "mental patient" starts talking politics, goes into a political 
delirium, just look at what psychoanalysis does with it. It's what Freud did to 

Pierre Clastre said all there was to say about ethnology, at least much to our 
advantage. What we're trying to do is put libido in relation with an "outside." The 
flow of women among the primitives is in relation with flows of herd animals, 
flows of arrows. One day a group becomes nomadic. One day warriors show up 
in the village square: look at Kafka's "Great Wall of China." What are the flows of 
a society? Which flows are capable of subverting that society? And where is desire's 
place in all this? Something always happens to the libido, and it happens from far 
off on the horizon, not from within. Shouldn't ethnology, as well as psychoanaly- 
sis, be in relation with an outside? 

Maurice Nadeau: We should perhaps stop here... if we want to print this inter- 
view in La Quinzaine (we've probably filled more pages than we have in a single 
issue!). Let me thank Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari for the insights they've 
given us into a book that seems likely to revolutionize many disciplines, and 
which seems all the more important when we consider the particular way in which 
its authors approach questions that concern us all. Let me also thank Francois 
Chatelet for having organized and presided over this debate and, of course, all the 
specialists who agreed to participate today. 


Helene Cixous, or Writing in Strobe 1 

For several years now Helene Cixous has pursued a subterranean body of work 
which remains relatively unknown despite the Medici prize awarded her for 
Inside in 1969. 2 She wrote a beautiful book on The Exile ofJames Joyce,' in 
which fiction, theory and criticism are tightly knit. On first impression, her 
work indeed stems from a Joycean tradition: a narrative in process, which 
includes itself or takes itself as an object, with a plural "author" and a "neuter" 
subject, neuter plural, and the simultaneity of every kind of scene: historical 
and political, mythical and cultural, psychoanalytic and linguistic. But maybe 
this first impression, being only apparent, leads to a misunderstanding, like the 
idea that Cixous is an exceedingly difficult author or that her work follows the 
well known trends of contemporary literature. The real originality of an author 
is revealed only once we manage to position ourselves within the point of view 
she herself has invented and from which the work becomes easy to read, lead- 
ing the reader by the hand. This is the mystery: every truly new work is simple, 
easy, and joyful. Look at Kafka, look at Beckett. 

We see the Cixous mystery in her last book Neutre: an author acknowl- 
edged as difficult generally demands to be read slowly: in this case, however, 
the work asks us to read it "fast," and we are bound to read it again, faster and 
faster. The difficulties which a slow reader would experience dissolve as the 
reading speed increases. In my view, Cixous has invented a new and original 
kind of writing, which gives her a particular place in modern literature: writ- 
ing in strobe, 4 where the story comes alive, different themes connect up, and 
words form various figures according to the precipitous speeds of reading and 

Paul Morand's great significance, so poorly understood today, was to bring 
speed into literature around 1925, bringing it into style itself, in relation to 
jazz, the automobile, and the airplane. Cixous is inventing other speeds, some- 



times crazy speeds, in relation to the contemporary. Neutre never tires of say- 
ing it: mix colors in such a way that through movement they produce 
unknown shades and hues. Writing per second, per tenth of a second: "The 
rule is simple: move from one tree to another either by exchanging the active 
bodies, or by exchanging the supplementary terms, or by exchanging the 
names of the terms that function in pairs. This all happens so fast that it is dif- 
ficult, from the exterior, to see which of the three operations is in process, and 
whether there is a transfer from one tree to the other via body or name. The 
movement is such that the trees by a strobe effect produce a kind of pole that 
is smooth or barely striated by dark vertical cross-hatching, the specters of gen- 
erations: Paper... Each plays the other: For example, the statement 'None is 
Without its Other: Samson haunts it.'" 

So what is the effect that Cixous creates? The material of Neutre is com- 
posed of associated elements: Active elements made of desires; phonological 
elements made of letters; linguistic elements made of figures; elements of crit- 
icism made of citations; active elements made of scenes, etc. These elements 
comprise an immobile group, complex and difficult to decipher, as long as the 
speed = 0. At intermediate speeds, the elements form chains that splice into 
one another, and then splice into this or that group, which has determinations, 
thus making up distinct stories or distinct versions of a story. And at higher 
and higher speeds, the elements reach a perpetual slippage, an extreme rotation 
which prevents them from splicing into any group whatsoever, driving them 
ever faster through each and every story. In a word, the reading functions 
according to the reader's speeds of association. For example, the extraordinary 
scene of the son's death, which varies according to three degrees at least. Or else 
those hilarious pages where one sees the letter F contaminate all neighboring 
words and quickly overtake them. This is pleasure which comes from a book- 
as-drug, a disquieting strangeness, in accordance with a Freudian notion that 
Cixous loves: in every sense, a reading of Neutre must be fast and taut, as in a 
modern mechanism of decisive precision. 


Capitalism and Schizophrenia 1 

Vittorio Marchetti: Your book Anti-Oedipus is subtitled Capitalism and Schizo- 
phrenia. Why is that? What were the fundamental ideas you started from? 

Gilles Deleuze: Perhaps the most fundamental idea is that the unconscious "pro- 
duces." What this means is that we must stop treating the unconscious, as 
everyone has done up to now, like some kind of theatre where a privileged drama 
is represented, the drama of Oedipus. We believe the unconscious is not a the- 
atre, but a factory. Artaud said something really beautiful in this regard. He said 
the body, and especially the ailing body, is like an overheated factory So, no more 
theatre. Saying the unconscious "produces" means that it's a kind of mechanism 
that produces other mechanisms. In other words, we believe the unconscious has 
nothing in common with theatrical representation, but with something called a 
"desiring-machine." Let's be clear about the word "mechanism." The biological 
theory of mechanism was never able to understand desire and remains totally in 
the dark in this area because desire cannot be integrated into mechanical mod- 
els. When we talk about desiring-machines, or the unconscious as a mechanism 
of desire, we mean something completely different. Desiring consists in inter- 
ruptions, letting certain flows through, making withdrawals from those flows, 
cutting the chains that become attached to the flows. This system of the uncon- 
scious, or desire that flows, interrupts, begins flowing again — it's totally literal; 
and contrary to what traditional psychoanalysis tells us, it is perfectly meaning- 
less. Without any sense, there is nothing to interpret. Interpretation is 
meaningless here. The problem is knowing how the unconscious works. It is 
knowing how "desiring-machines" work, and knowing how to use those 

Guattari and I began with the assumption that desire could be understood 
only as a category of "production." So we had to reintroduce production into 



desire itself. Desire does not depend on lack, it's not a lack of something, and it 
doesn't refer to any Law. Desire produces. So it's the opposite of a theatre. An 
idea like Oedipus, the theatrical representation of Oedipus, mutilates the uncon- 
scious and gives no expression to desire. Oedipus is the effect of social repression 
on desiring production. Even with a child, desire is not Oedipal, it functions like 
a mechanism, produces little machines, establishing connections among things. 
What this means in different terms, perhaps, is that desire is revolutionary. This 
doesn't mean that it wants revolution. It's even better. Desire is revolutionary by 
nature because it builds desiring-machines which, when they are inserted into 
the social field, are capable of derailing something, displacing the social fabric. 
Traditional psychoanalysis, however, has turned everything upside down in its 
little theatre. It's exactly as if something that really belongs to humanity, to a fac- 
tory, to production, were translated by means of a representation at the Comedie 
Francaise. So there you have our point of departure: the unconscious as produc- 
ing these little machines of desire, which we call desiring-machines. 

Vittorio Marchetti: So what about Capitalism and Schizophrenia?. 

Felix Guattari: We wanted to emphasize the extremes. Everything in human 
existence is brought back to the most abstract categories. Capital and, on the 
other extreme, or rather, the other pole of nonsense, madness — and within mad- 
ness, schizophrenia. In our view, it was these two poles' common tangent of 
nonsense that seemed to have a relation. And not just a contingent relation mak- 
ing it possible to say that modern society drives people crazy. Much more than 
that: if we want to explain alienation, or the repression which the individual suf- 
fers in the capitalist system, if we want to understand the real meaning of the 
politics of the appropriation of surplus value, we must bring into play those same 
concepts to which one turns to analyze schizophrenia. We privileged these 
extreme poles, but it goes without saying that all the intermediate terms must 
also be examined: everything from the way in which neurosis is confronted to the 
study of childhood or primitive societies. All the themes which the human sci- 
ences deal with are fair game. But rather than establish some coexistence of all 
the human sciences, one in relation to the other, we decided to relate capitalism 
and schizophrenia in an attempt to encompass these fields as a whole; that way 
we avoided limiting ourselves to the various pathways that allow you to pass 
between them. 

Vittorio Marchetti: Did your research come out of concrete experience? Do you 
see any practical development? If so, in which fields? 

Felix Guattari: To answer the first part of your question, the research comes out 
of psychiatric practice, psychoanalysis, and in particular, the study of psychosis. 



We feel that the semiotic chains, the descriptions of Freudian theory, and psy- 
chiatry are relatively inadequate to explain what is really going on in mental 
illness. We noticed this as soon as a new kind of listening to mental illness 
became possible. 

Freud developed his concepts, to begin with at least, within the framework 
of a particular kind of access he had to neuroses, and hysteria in particular. He 
himself complained toward the end of his life about not having had access to 
another field, about not having had any other way to approach psychosis. He was 
able to approach psychotic patients only accidentally and from the outside. It 
should be added, too, that within the framework of repressive hospitalization, 
you don't have access to schizophrenia. You have access to mental patients locked 
in a system that prevents them from expressing the very essence of madness. 
They express only a reaction to the repression to which they are subjected, which 
they are forced to endure. As a result, psychoanalysis is practically impossible 
with cases of psychosis. And things will continue this way as long as psychotic 
patients are trapped in the repressive hospitah system. However, rather than 
transpose the descriptive chains of neurosis onto psychosis, we tried to do the 
opposite. In other words, we tried to reexamine the concepts used to describe 
neurosis in the light of the indications we received from contact with psychosis. 

Gilles Deleuze: We began with the feeling, and I do mean a feeling, and the 
knowledge, that something was not right with psychoanalysis. It has become 
interminable, spinning its wheels and going nowhere. Just look at the psychoan- 
alytic cure. Well, the cure has become an endless process in which both the 
patient and the doctor chase each other round and round, and this circle, what- 
ever modifications are applied, remains Oedipal. It's like "OK, talk!" But it's 
always about the same thing: mommy and daddy. The reference turns on an 
Oedipal axis. They can insist all they want that it's not about a real mother and 
father, that it's about some higher structure, whatever you like, some symbolic 
order, and that it shouldn't be interpreted as imaginary, but the discourse remains 
the same: the patient is there to talk about mommy and daddy, and the analyst 
listens in terms of mommy and daddy. There are problems that troubled Freud 
toward the end of his life: something is not right with psychoanalysis, something 
is stuck. Freud thought that it was becoming endless, the cure looked inter- 
minable, it was going nowhere. And Lacan was the fist to indicate how far things 
had to be revamped. He believed the problem could be resolved in a profound 
return to Freud. We on the other hand began with the feeling that psychoanaly- 
sis was going round and round in a circle, a familial circle, so to speak, 
represented by Oedipus. And today a rather worrisome situation has developed. 
Although psychoanalysis has changed its methods, it has nonetheless come into 
line with the most classical psychiatry. As Michel Foucault has so admirably 
shown, it was in the nineteenth-century that psychiatry fundamentally linked 



madness to the family. Psychoanalysis has teinterpteted this connection, but 
what is so striking is that the connection has stayed in place. And even anti-psy- 
chiatry, which points in new and revolutionary directions, preserves this 
family-madness reference. Everyone talks about familial psychotherapy. So, 
everyone continues to locate the fundamental reference of mental derangement 
in familial determinations of the mommy-daddy type. And even if these deter- 
minations are interpreted in a symbolic way — the father symbolic function, the 
mother symbolic function — it doesn't change a thing. 

Now I suppose everyone is familiar with the amazing text by that lunatic, as 
they call him, President Schreber, a paranoid or a schizophrenic, it doesn't mat- 
ter. His memoirs are a kind of racial, racist, historical delirium. His delirium 
encompasses whole continents, cultures, and races. What takes you by surprise is 
the political, historical, and cultural content of his delirium. When you read 
Freud's commentary, this whole aspect of the delirium has disappeared: it has 
been crushed by the reference to a father that Schreber never mentions. Psycho- 
analysts will say that it is precisely because he never mentions it that it's so 
important. Well, we say that we've never seen a schizophrenic delirium that is not 
first and foremost racial, racist, and political, that is not running off in every 
direction of history, that does not invest cultures, that does not talk about con- 
tinents, kingdoms, etc. We say that the problem of delirium is not related to the 
family, that it concerns mommy and daddy only secondarily, if it concerns them 
at all. The real problem of delirium is the extraordinary transitions between two 
poles: the one is a reactionary pole, so to speak, a fascist pole of the type: "I am 
a superior race," which shows up in every paranoid delirium; and the other is a 
revolutionary pole: like Rimbaud, when he says: "I am an inferior race, always 
and forever." 2 Every delirium invests History before investing some ridiculous 
mommy-daddy. And so, even where therapy or a cure is concerned — provided 
this is indeed a mental illness — if the historical references of the delirium are 
ignored, if you just go round and round between a symbolic father and an imag- 
inary father, you never escape familialism and you remain locked within the 
framework of the most traditional psychiatry. 

Vittorio Marchetti: Do you think linguistic studies can contribute something to 
the interpretation of schizophrenic language? 

Felix Guattari: Linguistics is a rapidly expanding science still very much in 
search of itself. You sometimes see an abusive use of concepts, too hastily 
employed, given that they're still being formulated. There is one notion in par- 
ticular we felt it necessary to rethink: the signifier. We believe the notion poses 
several problems in different linguistics. Perhaps the signifier is less problematic 
for psychoanalysis, but as far as we're concerned, we think it needs further devel- 
opment. Faced with the problems of contemporary society we have to be in a 



position to question the traditional culture which has been divided up, so to 
speak, among the human sciences, science, scientism (a fashionable word for a 
while now), and political responsibility. Especially after May '68, a revision of 
this separation seems important and necessary. From this perspective, until 
recently, the various disciplines have enjoyed a kind of autonomy. The psycho- 
analysts have their own cooking utensils, and the politicians have their own, etc. 
The necessity to reexamine this division is not born from some concern for eclec- 
ticism and does not necessarily lead to some sort of confusion. The same way that 
it is not due to confusion that a schizophrenic jumps from one register to the 
next. It is the reality he finds himself confronted with that drives him to it. The 
schizophrenic, without any epistemological guarantee, so to speak, sticks closely 
to reality and this reality causes him to move from one level to the next, from a 
questioning of semantics and syntax to the revision of the themes of history, etc. 
Well, from this perspective, people in the human sciences and in politics should, 
in a sense, go a little schizo. And not to embrace that illusory image which the 
schizophrenic gives us when he is trapped in repression, according to which he is 
supposedly "autistic," withdrawn into himself, etc. On the contrary, to have the 
same ability to embrace all the disciplines together. In the aftermath of May '68, 
the question is precisely this: either we attempt to unify our comprehension of 
phenomena such as, I don't know, bureaucratization in political organizations, or 
bureaucratization in State capitalism, with our comprehension of distant and dis- 
parate phenomena such as, for example, obsession, or the descriptions given by 
repetitive autism — or else, if we stick to the idea that things are separate, that 
each of us is a specialist and should mind his own business while making 
advances in his field, explosions that totally escape our powers of description and 
comprehension, from a political as well as anthropological point of view, will 
nonetheless show up in the world. In this sense, the point of calling into ques- 
tion the division of the various disciplines, as well as the self-satisfaction of 
psychoanalysts, linguists, ethnologists, and teachers of pedagogy, is not the dis- 
solution of these sciences. The point is to refit these sciences so they better 
measure up to their object of inquiry. A whole line of research conducted prior 
to May '68 by some small, privileged groups suddenly found itself at the center 
of debate, and that Spring, institutional revolution was the order of the day. Psy- 
choanalysts are increasingly "interpolated" in public discourse; they have been 
forced to broaden their discipline. The same goes for psychiatrists. This is a total- 
ly new phenomenon. What does it mean? Is it just a fad? Or as some in the 
political sphere contend, is it a way of diverting militant revolutionaries from 
their objectives? But is it not rather a call, however confused, for a profound revi- 
sion of conceptualization as it is practiced today? 

Vittorio Marchetti: Could psychiatry play this role and become, so to speak, the 
new human science, the human science par excellence? 



Felix Guattari: Rather than psychiatry, why not the schizophrenics, the crazies 
themselves? It seems to me that those who work in the field of psychiatry, at least 
right now, are hardly on the cutting edge! 

Gilles Deleuze: And there's no reason anyway why psychiatry rather than any 
other discipline should become the human science par excellence. The whole 
idea of some "human science par excellence" is misguided. Why couldn't bib- 
liophilia be the human science par excellence? Or how about textual criticism? 
The fact is too many sciences would like to play such a role. The problem is 
not determining which science will be the human science par excellence; the 
problem is determining how a certain number of "machines" endowed with 
revolutionary potential are going to fit together. For example, the literary 
machine, the psychoanalytic machine, and political machines: either they will 
find a unifying point, as they have done so up to now, in a particular system 
of adaptation to capitalist regimes, or else they will find a shattering unity in a 
revolutionary utilization. We mustn't pose the problem in terms of priority, we 
have to pose it in terms of use or utilization. So, the question is: to what use 
are they put? In our view, psychiatry has up to now concealed a particular use 
of familialism, of the familial perspective, and this utilization seems reac- 
tionary, even necessarily so, no matter how revolutionary those people are now 
working in the field of psychiatry. 

Vittorio Marchetti: Levi-Strauss says that philosophical or scientific thought 
operates by proposing and opposing concepts, whereas mythic thought operates 
through images taken from the sensible world. Arieti, in his book Interpretation 
of Schizophrenia, affirms that those suffering from mental illness have recourse to 
an intelligible logic, to a "coherent logical system" even if it has nothing to do 
with the logic founded on concepts. Arieti talks about "paleo-logic" and claims 
that this "coherent logical system" resembles mythical thought, the thought of 
so-called primitive societies, that it operates in the same way, by "associating sen- 
sible qualities." How do you explain this phenomenon? Is schizophrenia a 
defensive strategy pressed into the refusal of our logical system? And if so, does- 
n't the analysis of schizophrenic language offer an invaluable instrument for the 
human sciences in the study of our society? 

Gilles Deleuze: I understand your question, it s pretty technical. I d like to hear 
what Guattari thinks. 

Felix Guattari: I don't really like the word 'paleo-logic' because it still implies 
a "prelogical mentality" and other definitions of the kind that opened the way 
for a literal segregation, not to mention its associations with the childishness of 
mental patients. 



Gilles Deleuze: And 'logic' is a concept that doesn't interest us in the least. It's 
too vague a term. Everything is logical, or nothing is. As for the question, its 
technical aspect, I would question whether what schizophrenics, primitives, or 
children are really about is a logic of sensible qualities. 

In our own research, what we're doing now, this question doesn't come up. 
What strikes me is how easily everyone forgets that a formulation such as 'the 
logic of sensible qualities' is already too theoretical. What we neglect is "pure 
lived experience." Whether we're talking about the lived experience of the child, 
the lived experience of the primitive, or the lived experience of the schizophrenic, 
'lived experience' doesn't mean sensible qualities. Lived experience is "intensive": 
I feel... 'I feel' means that something is happening in me, I am experiencing an 
intensity, and intensity is not the same thing as sensible qualities; in fact, it's 
totally different. This happens all the time with schizophrenics. A schizophrenic 
says: "I feel I'm becoming a woman" or "I feel I'm becoming God." Sensible 
qualities have nothing to do with it. It seems that Arieti stays at the level of a 
logic of sensible qualities, but that doesn't correspond at all to what schizo- 
phrenics say. When a schizophrenic says: "I feel I'm becoming a woman," "I feel 
I'm becoming God," "I feel I'm becoming Joan of Arc," what does it mean in 
reality? Schizophrenia is a shocking and very very acute experience, an involun- 
tary experience, of intensity and the passings of intensities. When a 
schizophrenic says: "I feel I'm becoming a woman," "I feel I'm becoming God," 
it's like the body is crossing a threshold of intensity. Biologists talk about the egg 
and the schizophrenic body as a kind of egg; the catatonic body is nothing more 
than an egg. Well, when a schizophrenic says: "I'm becoming God," "I'm becom- 
ing a woman," it's like crossing what biologists call a gradient, traversing a 
threshold of intensity. A schizophrenic is still crossing it, going above it, beyond 
it, etc. This whole phenomenon is what traditional analysis fails to take into 
account. That's why the pharmacological research being done on schizophrenia 
could be so rich, although it is poorly utilized at present. Pharmacological stud- 
ies and drug research pose the problem in terms of variations in intensity of the 
metabolism. The "I feel..." must be considered in the light of passing sensations, 
degrees of intensity. So, the difference between our conception and Arieti's, with 
all due respect to Arieti's work, resides in the fact that we interpret schizophrenia 
in terms of intensive experience. 

Vittorio Marchetti: But what do you mean by the "intelligibility" of schizophrenic 

Felix Guattari: What we want to know is whether coherence derives from, say, 
an order of rational expression, or some semantic order, or whether it derives 
from an order which one might call machinic. After all, we do the best we can 
with representation, everyone does the best he can with it: both the research 



scientist, trying to reconstitute something in the order of expression, and the 
schizophrenic. But the schizophrenic doesn't have the possibility of making 
intelligible what he is trying to reconstitute, with the means ready to hand, 
those he has at his disposal. In this sense, we're saying that the descriptions 
made within the framework of psychoanalysis, and which we call Oedipal, to 
simplify things, constitute a repressive representation. Even the most impor- 
tant authors, those who have gone the farthest in the exploration of psychosis 
and childhood, or those who spotted the problem of the passages of intensive 
quantities — even they end up describing everything in Oedipal terms all over 
again. A famous researcher, and I mean someone really important, still spoke 
of micro-Oedipalism in a case of psychosis, despite the fact that he had 
noticed — at the level of its functioning, in othet words, the level of partial 
impulses — a landscape reminiscent of Hieronymous Bosch, composed of an 
infinity of fragments, bits and pieces, where the idea of the father, the moth- 
er, and the holy trinity was not to be found. What this suggests, on one level 
at least, is that such a representation is taken literally from a single dominant 

Vittorio Marchetti: There exist typical alterations in schizophrenic language. Are 
there identical alterations in language specific to certain social categories such as 
the military or politics? 

Felix Guattari: Definitely. We can even speak of a "para-phrenic" military lan- 
guage, the language of militant political activists today. But we would have to 
generalize. The categories used by psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and research sci- 
entists rely on a language of representational closure. To such an extent, that 
whatever escapes the production of desiring-machines is always redirected back 
to restrictive, exclusive syntheses, with a continual return to dualist categories, 
and a perpetual separation of levels. An epistemological reform would be insuf- 
ficient to redress such a situation, because the whole balance of power is at stake, 
even at the level of class conflict. That means it is pointless to remind certain psy- 
choanalysts, or research scientists, to pay attention. In so far as what is at stake is 
not a separate order, as it would be in the case of a pulsional order, for instance, 
but rather the very totality of social mechanisms and their functioning, as much 
in the order of desire as in the order of revolutionary struggle or science and 
industry — in so far as all this is at stake, the system in its totality would have to 
secrete its models, its casts, and its stereotyped expressions all over again. We 
ought to ask ourselves whether the expression of politicians, scientists, and the 
military is not in fact precisely a kind of anti-production, a kind of repression 
working at the level of expression, whose goal is to stop the work of questioning, 
which never stops in fact, but overflows and then is simply lost in the real move- 
ment of things. 



Vittorio Marchetti: Nietzsche, Artaud, Van Gogh, Roussel, Campana: what does 
mental illness mean in their case? 

Gilles Deleuze: It means many things. Jaspers and, more recently, Laing have dis- 
played penetrating insight on this topic, even if they are still pretty much 
misunderstood. Essentially, they say that what is called madness is composed, 
roughly speaking, of two things: there is a breach, a tearing open, like a sudden 
light, a wall that is punched through, and then there is this other, very different 
dimension which could be called collapse. I remember a letter by Van Gogh: "We 
have to undermine the wall," he says. Except knocking down the wall is really 
difficult, and if you do it in a way that is too brutal, you knock yourself out, you 
fall down, you collapse. And Van Gogh added: "Just file away at it, slowly, 
patiently." So there is this breach, and a possible collapse. Jaspers, when he talks 
about the schizophrenic process, emphasizes the coexistence of two elements: a 
kind of intrusion, the arrival of something for which there is no possible expres- 
sion, something wonderful, so wonderful in fact that it is difficult to articulate; 
but it is so repressed in our society — and here you have the second element — 
that it runs the risk of coinciding with collapse. Here you see the autistic 
schizophrenic, who no longer moves, and who can remain motionless for years. 
In the case of Nietzsche, Van Gogh, Artaud, Roussel, Campana, etc., the two ele- 
ments certainly coexist. A fantastic breach, a hole in the wall. Van Gogh, 
Nerval — and so many others — have knocked down the wall of the signifier, the 
wall of mommy-daddy, they went beyond it and speak to us in a voice which is 
our future. But the second element is nonetheless present in this process, and it 
is the danger of collapse. No one has the right to deride, to treat with flippancy, 
the fact that the tearing open, the breach slips into or coincides with a kind of 
collapse. This danger must be considered fundamental. The two elements are 
connected. It is meaningless to say that Artaud was not schizophrenic — worse, 
it's shameful and stupid. Artaud was clearly schizophrenic. He achieved a "won- 
derful breakthrough," he knocked down the wall, but at what price? The price of 
a collapse that must be qualified as schizophrenic. The breakthrough and the 
breakdown are two different moments. It would be irresponsible to turn a blind 
eye to the danger of collapse in such endeavors. But they're worth it. 

Vittorio Marchetti: I heard about these interns in a psychiatric hospital who, 
against the wishes of the director of the clinic, had the habit of playing cards in 
the room of a patient who had been in a profound catatonic state for years: a veg- 
etable. Not a word, not a gesture, not the least movement. One day, while the 
interns are playing cards, the patient, whose head had been turned toward the 
window by the nurse, suddenly says: "It's the director!" His perpetual silence 
ensues and he dies a few years later without ever saying another word. That is his 
message to the world: "It's the director!" 



Gilles Deleuze: A beautiful story. In the light of schizoanalysis, and that's what 
we're after, we should not ask so much what the phrase "It's the director!" 
means, as what happened such that the autistic patient, withdrawn into his 
body, was able to constitute, with the arrival of the director, a little machine 
that served his purposes, even for a short time. 

Felix Guattari: It seems to me far from obvious that the patient in the story 
actually saw the director. From the standpoint of the story, it would even be 
better if the patient didn't see him. The simple fact that there was a modifica- 
tion, a change of habits due to the presence of the young interns, the 
transgression of the director's law on account of the card game, could have pro- 
voked the patient to foreground the hierarchical figure of the director, to 
articulate simply an analytic interpretation of the situation. This represents a 
beautiful illustration of the transfer, the translation of the analytic function. It's 
not a psychoanalyst, or whoever you like, a psycho-sociologist, who is inter- 
preting the structure of the situation. It is literally a crying out, a kind of slip 
of the tongue, that interprets the sense of the alienation which not the schizo- 
phrenic, but the people for whom it is such a big deal simply to play cards in 
the presence of patients find themselves in. 

Vittorio Marchetti: Yes, but the patient is still present to himself when he cries 
out, even if he hasn't seen the director... 

Felix Guattari: Present to himself! I'm not at all sure about that. He could have 
seen a cat or something. In the practice of institutional psychotherapy, it is well 
known that the most zoned-out schizophrenic can suddenly dredge up the most 
incredible stories about your private life, things you would never have believed 
anyone knew, and then will proceed to articulate, in the crudest manner possi- 
ble, truths you thought were secret. It's no mystery. The schizophrenic has instant 
access to such insight, because he is directly flayed, so to speak, on the hooks that 
constitute the group in its subjective unity. He finds himself in a "clairvoyant" 
situation with respect to those individuals who, crystallized in their logic, in their 
syntax, in their own interests, are absolutely blind. 


Your Special "Desiring-Machines": 
What Are They? 

The readers of Les Temps Modernes will find a strange report here. Pierre Beni- 
chou has revealed some of the results from his inquiry on masochists (the "real" 
masochists, those who have others inflict severe and often bloody treatment on 
themselves). For this inquiry, however, he does not address the masochists 
themselves; he does not have them talk. They would gladly talk. Were they to 
talk, however, they would enter a preformed, prefabricated circuit: the circuit 
of their myths and fantasies, including the circuit of that psychoanalysis whose 
ideas everyone today is more or less familiar with, a circuit in which each of us 
knows more or less in advance what is expected of us, answering "Oedipus" or 
"mommy-daddy" as soon as we are asked — that world of interiority which we 
find so tiresome. 

Pierre Benichou substitutes an entirely different trinity for the psychoana- 
lytic father-mother-ego: cop-prostitute-client. We must not too hastily 
conclude that they are the same. And rather than the subject speaking, and the 
psychoanalyst writing for eventual publication in a scientific journal, the sub- 
ject does not speak, does not have the right to speak; he only writes, he writes 
his wishes and demands, he passes a note in which he criticizes the last session, 
or plans for the next one. But on the other hand, the prostitute, the cop speak. 
Pierre Benichou's inquiry provides what is so lacking in psychoanalysis today: 
a new relation with the Outside. 

This is all we are asking of the psychoanalytic relation: an inversion, a car- 
icature, an extreme tightening. Masochism is that perversion par excellence 
which takes the form of a contract, even if it is within the terms of the contract 
for it to be exceeded each time, to be subverted by the caprice or superior 
authority of the all powerful "Mistress." (P.B. instances the monthly payment 
that entitles the client to a certain number of sessions.) And so, just as in psy- 
choanalysis, the contract here takes on a dimension that has its equivalent 



nowhere else: it is not possible to distinguish between the contracting parties 
and the object which the contract specifies. As Pierre Benichou remarks: "sex- 
ual deviation, properly speaking, is the only domain in which a direct relation 
obtains. The prostitute does more than provide an object; she is the object. A 
living material that listens, records, answers, questions, decides; a drug that 
itself prescribes its own dose; a roulette wheel that chooses its own number and 
color — always the other number and color, of course. She has seen everything, 
heard everything... And understood nothing? What does it matter, she talks, 
she knows what she's talking about, she has 'experience.'" Does the perverse 
relation deface the psychoanalytic relation, or does the psychoanalytic relation 
deface the perverse relation? 

For a long time psychiatry was a normalizing discipline, speaking in the 
name of reason, authority, and law, in a double relation with the asylums and 
the courts. Then a new interpreting discipline came along: psychoanalysis. 
Madness, perversion, neurosis — psychoanalysts wanted to know "what did it 
mean," from the inside. Today we are calling for the rights of a new function- 
alism: no longer what it means, but how it works, how it functions. As if desire 
had nothing to say, but rather was the assemblage of tiny machines, desiring- 
machines, always in a particular relation with the big social machines and the 
technological machines. Your particular desiring-machines: what are they? In a 
difficult and beautiful text, Marx called for the necessity to think human sex- 
uality not only as a relation between the human sexes, masculine and feminine, 
but as a relation "between human sex and non-human sex." He was clearly not 
thinking of animals, but of what is non-human in human sexuality: the 
machines of desire. Perhaps psychoanalysis had gotten no further than an 
anthropomorphic idea of sexuality, even in its conception of fantasy and 
dreams. An exemplary investigation like Pierre Benichou's, in giving us real 
masochistic machines (real paranoid machines, real schizophrenic machines, 
etc.), maps out the road to such a functionalism as we are calling for: the analy- 
sis of "non-human sex" in human kind. 


H.M.'s Letters 1 

Our prisons are filled primarily with loners of every kind, the unemployed, and 
young "small-time crooks" with or without work. As many officials admit in 
private, these young people have no business being in prison; the Arpaillanges 
report, 2 still secret, confirms as much. A counter-expert will dare say to H.M.: 
"Prison is not a solution to your problem." We would like to ask this counter- 
expert: for whom and for which problem is prison a "solution"? A precise system 
comprised of police officers, criminal records, and parole officers lowers the 
chances of escaping a first conviction; these young people are destined to return 
to prison almost as soon as they leave. One conviction after another gets them 
labeled "hardened criminals." 

Young people today walk a fine line indeed between a persistent temptation 
to commit suicide and the birth of a certain form of political consciousness 
peculiar to prison. It's not about making vague recriminations against society, or 
fate, or making new resolutions; it's about analyzing their lived experience: the 
personified mechanisms that ceaselessly push them into reform school, the hos- 
pital, the army, confinement. 

The need to write to family and friends is born of isolation, and their polit- 
ical reflection is nourished by a new genre of writing in which the traditional 
distinctions between public and private, the sexual and the social, collective 
demands and personal lifestyle are blurred. In many of H.M.'s letters, the writ- 
ing progressively changes, under Mandrax, "Mandrax the Magnificent," and 
bears witness to complementary or opposed personalities restlessly stirring in 
the prisoner, all of them participating in the same "effort to reflect." The suici- 
dal personality won out; there could have been another outcome, if penitentiary 
medicine were not just a simple extension of policing. H.M.'s correspondence 
is exemplary because its heartfelt reflections express what exactly a prisoner is 



These letters keep turning over all kinds of obsessions: write me, if you only 
knew what a word from you means..., include a stamp, it's no use giving our 
money to P. and T., I write like a pig with my hand broken, they broke my cast 
and won't replace it, "it's perhaps good people who have done me the most 
harm," Mandrax, I'm losing it... FREEDOM, send me books, The Anti-Psychi- 
atrist, and Sartre's Saint Genet, Actor & Martyr These letters talk about all 

sorts of desires to flee, and to live. Not some impossible escape. But fleeing the 
traps of the police who led him back to prison. To flee to India, where he want- 
ed to go before his last arrest. A spiritual flight, like Krishna. Or even in prison, 
fleeing right there, fleeing himself, as he undoes certain personalities that inhab- 
it him, fleeing like a schizophrenic, in an and-psychiatric way. Fleeing like 
Genet, when he's "staying cool" about the feelings of persecution he senses ris- 
ing within himself, and which he knows are provoked by persecutions that are 
all too real. Community-flights, where the "community" is defined in opposi- 
tion to "little hippy societies that do nothing but imitate our fascist society." Or 
active flights, in the political sense, like Jackson,' where one flees while looking 
for a weapon, while attacking: "I don't have a lawyer and I don't know if I'll ask 
for one. I don't want a lawyer who whines and pleads for clemency. I want a 
lawyer who's gonna scream and raise hell...." "I feel like I'm suffocating, I won't 
ask the tribunal to show any mercy, I'll scream injustice, I'll proclaim the police 
are corrupt..., I have to go now because I'm half-crazy, and they'll use these let- 
ters to lock me away for good..." And if nothing else is possible, to flee by 
committing suicide: "I'll wait for the verdict unless life becomes too difficult to 
bear and I decide not to wait any longer. It's something I contemplate everyday, 
but it's just as difficult to live as to die. Well, I'm going to bed and will contin- 
ue my book by Laing, because I'm really down today" (written the day before 
his suicide). There is every chance that the warden and the guards considered it 
blackmail, bad reading material, or simply play acting. 

H.M. was homosexual. There are some who believe that a homosexual has 
it easier in prison, since everybody becomes homosexual in prison. The opposite 
is true: prison is the last place where one can be "naturally" homosexual, 
because one is caught in a system of harassment and prostitution, in which the 
administration voluntarily plays a part in order to divide the prison population 
against itself. H.M., however, was appreciated and loved by the prisoners 
without having to hide his homosexuality. And it is precisely due to a report 
by a guard, following an incident, that H.M. was sent to solitary confinement — 
for being "caught in the act." We have to ask ourselves what right the prison 
has to judge and punish homosexuality. 

H.M. thinks they never give him a moment's peace, indeed, that punish- 
ment on punishment is relentlessly delivered. But prison has an even more 
secret prison, solitary confinement, which the Pleven "reform" is careful to over- 



look.' During a previous conviction for attempted larceny, when H.M. had 
served his time, they added forty-five more days of confinement (for non-pay- 
ment of his court fees), and then when he was leaving the premises, he was 
retaken into custody on a complaint filed by a guard who, having beaten him, 
swears he was attacked by the prisoner. Or how about this: having taken some 
drugs for a psychotherapeutic treatment, and being at the hospital for some 
other reason (viral hepatitis), H.M. was pursued by someone who telephones, 
asking him to cop a few bricks of opium, and keeps calling, insisting, till he 
finally denounces H.M. to the police. This is how they turn a drug user, former 
or current, into a "dangerous dealer" for police statistics and the editorials of 
reactionary newspapers like Aurore. He was immediately arrested, given a new 
preventive detention; a new provocation, being "caught in the act" of homo- 
sexuality lands him in solitary, where he kills himself. What is at stake here is 
not only a social system in general with its exclusions and condemnations, but 
the deliberate and personified provocations by means of which this system func- 
tions and ensures its order, by means of which the system creates its excluded 
and condemned, in conformity with a politics shared by Power, the police, and 
the administration. A specific number of people are directly and personally 
responsible for the death of H.M. 


Hot and Cool 1 

The painter's model is commodity. All sorts of commodities: apparel, toiletries, 
bridal accessories, erotica, food. And the painter is always present in his paint- 
ings, a black silhouette who seems to watch: painter and love, painter and death, 
painter and food, painter and car... But from one model to the other, they are 
all measured by the unique model of Commodity moving with the painter. Each 
painting is built on a dominant color, and the paintings form a series. It is as if 
the series began with the painting Rouge de cadmium and finished with Vert 
Veromese, representing the same painting, but this time exhibited in the dealer's 
shop: the painter and his painting have themselves become commodities. Still, 
we could imagine other beginnings and other endings. In any case, from one 
painting to the other, not only is the painter strolling through the shops, but the 
values of exchange are in circulation; it is a journey of colors, and a journey in 
each painting, a circulation of intonations. 

Nothing is neutral or passive. And yet the painter doesn't mean anything by 
his work: neither approbation nor anger. Nor do the colors mean anything: green 
is not hope; yellow is not sadness; red is not happiness or joy. Only hot or cool, 
hot and cool. Art as machinery: Fromanger paints, that is to say, he knows how 
to operate his paintings. The painting-machine of an artist-engineer. The artist- 
engineer of a civilization: how does he operate his paintings? 

Newspaper photograph in hand, the painter has plotted the positions: street, 
store, people. It's not about grasping the atmosphere, but rather an ever-sus- 
pended immanence, the uniform possibility that something like a new Kennedy 
assassination could come out of nowhere, in a system of indifference where the 
values of exchange circulate. The photograph captures a number of colorless 
cliches, and the painter chooses the one he likes. But he will have chosen the 
photo based on a different choice: the single dominant color that flows from the 
paint-tube (the two choices compliment each other). The painter projects the 



image onto the canvas and paints the projected image, just like the technique of 
creating tapestries. The painter paints in the darkness for hours. This nocturnal 
activity reveals an eternal truth about painting: a painter has never painted on a 
blank canvas, reproducing an object that functions as a model. Rather, he has 
always painted an image, a simulacrum, a shadow of the object, producing a can- 
vas whose very functioning reverses the relationship between model and copy. 
Consequently, there is no longer model or copy. The copy, and the copy of the 
copy, is pushed to the point where it reverses itself, and produces the model: Pop 
Art or painting for a "higher reality." 

Having chosen a color, the painter applies it straight from the tude, mixing 
it only with zinc white. This color, in relation to the photo, could be hot like 
Rouge Chine vermillionne or Violet de Bayeux, or cool like Vert Aubus son or Violet 
d'Egypte. He starts with the lightest areas (where there is the most white) and 
constructs his painting on a gradient that doesn't allow for back-tracking, drips, 
or blends. An irreversible ascending series of flat tints rises toward the pure color 
squeezed from the tube, or rejoins this pure color; as though the painting in the 
end were going to crawl back into the tube. 

Still, this doesn't fully explain how the painting operates, because a color is 
only potentially hot or cool, and this potential will be actualized only in relation 
to the other colors. For example, a second color affects a particular part of the 
photo: a pedestrian. Not only is this color lighter or darker than the dominant 
color, but being hot or cool in its own right, it can heat it up or cool it down. A 
circuit of exchange and communication is set up in the painting, and from one 
painting to another. Look at Violet de Bayeux with its hot ascending gradient: a 
child in the background is painted a cool green, and so, by contrast, begins heat- 
ing up the potentially hot violet. But this isn't enough to animate the violet. In 
the foreground, a man painted a hot yellow will kindle or re-kindle the violet 
and, with the green acting as intermediary, will actualize the violet's potential 
over and above the green. But now the cool green is out of the loop, isolated, as 
though exhausting its function all at once. It must itself be sustained, inserted 
back into the painting, reanimated or reactivated within the painting as a whole. 
It does this through a third character-color: the cool blue behind the yellow. 
Sometimes these secondary and circulatory colors are grouped around one single 
color, which they divide up into bands or arcs. And sometimes the photo resists 
being transformed into a living painting. It leaves a residue, as in Violet de 
Bayeux, where one of the character-colors in the foregrounded group remains 
undetermined. This color will be treated like black, with a dual potential that can 
be actualized in both directions; or it can "drift" toward cool blue as easily as 
move toward hot red. The residue is re-injected into the painting, such that the 
painting operates using the refuse of the photo, just as the photo operates using 
the colors that make up the painting. 



We have to consider another element which is present in all the paintings 
from the start, an element that jumps from one painting to another: the black 
painter in the foreground. The painter who paints in the blackness is himself 
black: his silhouette is massive; the curves of his body are salient; his chin is hard 
and heavy, and his hair is braided like a rope. He observes the commodities. He 
waits. But the black doesn't exist; the black painter doesn't exist. The black does- 
n't even have a potential in the same way a hot or cool color does. Its potential is 
below the surface: black is both hot and cool: cool when pulled toward blue, and 
hot when pulled toward red. Though present with such force, this black has no 
existence. Instead, it serves a primordial function in the painting. Whether hot 
or cool, it will be the antithesis of the dominant color, or the same as this color: 
for example, to reheat what was cool. Take the painting Vert Aubusson: the black 
painter watches and loves the seated model, a dead cool green woman. She is 
beautiful in death. But to make her death hot, some yellow must be extracted 
from the green, and to do this, blue must be drawn out as the compliment of yel- 
low. So, the black painter must be cooled off again in order to reheat the green 
death. (See, too, in Rouge de cadmium clair, how the young married models are 
very discreetly given death's-heads, or in Violet de Mars, the dead bathing beau- 
ties are elegant vampires caught in a variable relation with the black silhouette). 
In a word, the black painter has two functions in the painting, according to two 
different circuits: 1) he is a paranoid, immobile, heavy silhouette just as fixated 
on commodity as commodity is fixated on him; but 2) he is also a mobile 
schizoid shadow perpetually displaced with respect to himself, traversing the 
whole gradient of hot and cool, reheating the cool and cooling down the hot: a 
never-ending trip while standing still. 

The painting and its series don't mean anything, they function. And they 
function using at least four elements (though there are many others): 1) the irre- 
versible ascending gradient of the dominant color which traces in the painting a 
whole system of connections marked with white points; 2) the network of sec- 
ondary colors, which forms disjunctions of the hot and the cool, a reversible 
exchange of transformations, reactions, inversions, inferences, heatings and cool- 
ings; 3) the black painter as major conjunction which contains in itself the 
disjunctive, and which distributes the connections; and 4), when necessary, the 
residue of the photo that re-injects into the painting everything that was about to 
escape. A life force circulates here, a strange and vital force. 

There are two coexisting circuits, each entangled in the other. There is the 
circuit of the photo, or the photos, which serves as the support of the com- 
modities; there is the circulation of exchange value, and whose importance lies 
in mobilizing what remains indifferent. This indifference occurs at three levels of 
the painting: 1) the indifference of the commodity in the background, which is 
equivalent to love, death or nourishment, to the naked or the clothed, to a still 
life, or to a machine; 2) the indifference of the pedestrians, some stationary, oth- 



ers slipping away, such as the blue man or the green woman in Violet de Mars, or 
the man who is eating as he passes by the newlyweds; 3) the indifference of the 
black painter in the foreground, his indifferent equivalence to every commodity 
and passer-by. But perhaps these respective circuits of indifference, each one 
mirroring the other, exchanging with the other, introduce something like a 
declaration: the feeling that something is not right, that something keeps dis- 
rupting the apparent equilibrium of circuits, that each thing is keeping to itself 
in the compartmentalized depth of the painting: the commodity keeps to com- 
modities, the humans to the human, and the painter to himself. This is the 
circuit of death, where everyone is heading towards the grave, or is already there. 
It is at this rupture point, everywhere present, that the other circuit connects up, 
rejoining the painting, reorganizing it, turning the discrete planes into the rings 
of a spiral that causes the background to come forward, and the various elements 
to react with each other in a system of simultaneous inductions. But now it is a 
vital circuit, with its black sun, its ascending color and its radiant hots and cools. 
And still the circuit of life is nourished by the circuit of death and carries it along, 
ultimately to triumph over it. 

It is hard to ask a painter, 'Why do you paint?' The question makes no sense. 
But what about: How do you paint? How does the painting function? And sud- 
denly: What do you get out of painting? Imagine that Fromanger answers: "I 
paint in the dark, and what I'm after is hot and cool, and I want to get it from the 
colors, through the colors." A cook, too, can be after hot and cool, or a junky. 
Maybe the paintings are Fromanger's food, or his drugs. Hot and cool: that's 
what can be extracted from color as much as from anything else (like writing, 
dance, music, or the media). Conversely, there are other things to be extracted 
from color as well, and this extraction is never easy, no matter what it is. What 
this means is that the operation of extracting, or extricating something doesn't 
happen all by itself. As McLuhan has shown, 2 when the medium is hot, nothing 
circulates or communicates except through the cool, which controls every active 
interaction, including painter with model, spectator with painter, and model 
with copy. What counts is the perpetual reversals of hot and cool, according to 
which the hot can cool down the cool and the cool reheat the hot: it's like heat- 
ing an oven with snow balls. 

What is revolutionary about this painting? Perhaps it's the radical absence of 
bitterness, tragic grief, and anguish — all that annoying crap in the pseudo-great 
painters who are supposedly the witnesses of their times. All those fascist and 
sadistic fantasies that make a painter seem like an incisive critic of the modern 
world, when in fact he is only reveling in his own resentment and complacency, 
not to mention the complacency of his patrons. Though such a painting may be 
abstract, it is none the less dirty, disgusting, and sad. Like the game-keeper says 
to the painter: "All these tubes and vibrations of corrugated iron are really stu- 
pid, and too sentimental; they exhibit way too much self-pity and vain 



insecurity." Fromanger does the opposite: he exhibits something vital and pow- 
erful. Perhaps this explains why he is not liked by connoisseurs, and why his 
work doesn't sell. His paintings are full of shop windows, and his silhouette is 
everywhere: and yet he offers no mirror to reflect our gaze. He paints against the 
fantasy which mutilates life, which turns life toward death, and the past, even 
when it's done in a modern style: to this Fromanger opposes a life-giving process 
that has been wrested from the grip of death, and from the past. Fromanger 
understands the poisonous nature of his model, the ruse of commodity, the 
pedestrian's inevitable stupidity, and the hatred that follows a painter as soon as 
he becomes political, and the hatred he himself can feel. However, out of this 
poisonous nature, this ruse, this ugliness and hatred, Fromanger refuses to create 
a narcissistic mirror for some hypocritical, generalized reconciliation, exciting 
pity for himself and for the world. Out of everything ugly, repugnant, hateful 
and detestable, he knows how to extract the hots and the cools that create a life 
for tomorrow. We have to imagine the cool revolution as necessarily reheating 
today's over-heated world. Is this hyper-realism? Why not, if it wrests a "more- 
real" from a melancholy and oppressive reality to create joy, to cause an 
explosion, to start a revolution. Fromanger loves the dead green woman-com- 
modity, and gives her life by making his blackness more blue. Maybe he even 
loves the fat violet woman awaiting, and mourning, who knows what client. He 
loves everything he paints. This presupposes no abstraction, and no agreement 
either, but demands much extracting and extractive force. It's strange to what 
extent the acts of a revolutionary are governed by what he loves in the very world 
he wants to destroy. The only revolutionary is a joyful revolutionary, and the only 
painting that is esthetically and politically revolutionary is joyful. Fromanger 
lives and accomplishes what Lawrence says: "In my opinion, either there is joy in 
a painting, or it's not a painting. The most somber paintings of Piero della 
Francesca, Sodoma and Goya, breath out this indescribable joy found in real 
painting. Modern critics talk a lot about the ugliness of paintings, but I have 
never seen a real painting that I thought was ugly. The subject can be ugly, it can 
have a terrifying quality, a desperate, almost repugnant quality, as in El Greco's 
paintings. But all of this is strangely swept away by the joy of the painting. No 
artist, even the most desperate, has ever painted something without experiencing 
the strange joy which the creation of the image begets" 5 — that is to say, the trans- 
formation which the image undergoes in the painting, and the change that the 
painting produces in the image. 


Nomadic Thought 1 

If we want to know what Nietzsche is or is becoming today, we know very well 
whom we should ask — the young people now reading Nietzsche, those who are 
just discovering Nietzsche. Those of us here today are, for the most part, already 
too old. What is a young person discovering in Nietzsche that was clearly not dis- 
covered by earlier generations? How is it that young musicians today feel some 
connection with Nietzsche in their music, although they do not at all make 
music that is Nietzschean in any sense that Nietzsche would understand? How is 
it that young painters, young film makers feel some connection with Nietzsche? 
What is going on? What we want to know is how they have received Nietzsche. 
On the outside, the only thing we can really explain is how Nietzsche reserved 
for himself and for his readers, both contemporary and future generations, a par- 
ticular right to misinterpret. Not just any right, to be sure, because it has its own 
secret rules — but a particular right to misinterpret, which I will explain in a 
minute, and which makes commenting on Nietzsche very unlike commenting 
on Descartes or Hegel. I ask myself: who is the young Nietzschean today? Is it 
whoever is working on Nietzsche? Perhaps. Or is it whoever, voluntarily or invol- 
untarily — it doesn't matter which, utters things which are singularly Nietzschean 
in the course of an action, passion, or experience? This is also the case. A beau- 
tiful recent text, one of the most profoundly Nietzschean to my knowledge, is 
Richard Deshayes's Vivre, c 'est pas survivre, which he wrote just before being 
wounded by a grenade during a demonstration. 2 Perhaps the two cases are not 
mutually exclusive. Perhaps one can write on Nietzsche, and then in the course 
of experience produce Nietzschean utterances. 

What is Nietzsche today? In that question, we can feel the dangers lying in 
wait for us. A demagogic danger ("young people are on our side...")- A paternal- 
istic danger (advice to a young reader ofNietzsche...). And above all, the danger 
of an appalling synthesis. The trinity ofNietzsche, Freud, and Marx is thought 



to be the dawn of our modern culture. Never mind that by doing so you defuse 
the explosiveness of each from the start. Perhaps Marx and Freud are the dawn 
of our culture, but Nietzsche is something else entirely, the dawn of a counter- 
culture. It seems clear that our society does not function according to codes. Our 
society has other foundations by virtue of which it functions. However, if one 
examines not the letter of Marx or Freud, but the becoming of Marxism and the 
becoming of Freudianism, we see, paradoxically, Marxists and Freudians engaged 
in an attempt to recode Marx and Freud: in the case of Marxism, you have a 
recoding by the State ("the State has made you ill, the State will cure you" — this 
cannot be the same State); and in the case of Freudianism, you have a recoding 
by the family (you fall ill from the family and recover through the family — this is 
not the same family). What at the horizon of our culture in fact constitutes 
Marxism and psychoanalysis as those two fundamental bureaucracies, the one 
public, the other private, is their effort to recode as best they can precisely that 
which on the horizon ceaselessly tends to come uncoded. This is not at all what 
Nietzsche is about. His problem is elsewhere. For Nietzsche, it is about getting 
something through in every past, present, and future code, something which 
does not and will not let itself be recoded. Getting it through on a new body, 
inventing a body on which it can pass and flow: a body that would be ours, the 
body of Earth, the body of writing... 

We are familiar with the great instruments of encoding; societies are not that 
different in this respect; there are only so many means of encoding at their dis- 
posal. The three principle means are: the law, the contract, and the institution. 
For example, the relationship to books which people have or have had exhibits 
all three. There are books of law: here the relation of the reader to the book pass- 
es through the law. In particular, moreover, they are called codes, canons, or 
sacred books. And the other sort of book you have passes through the contract, 
the bourgeois contractual relation. This other book is the basis of secular litera- 
ture and book-selling: I purchase, and you give me something to read — a 
contractual relation in which everyone is caught: author, publisher, reader. And 
there is the third sort of book, the political book, preferably revolutionary, which 
is presented as a book of institutions, either present or to come. You find every 
possible combination of the three: contractual or institutional books considered 
sacred, etc. This is because every type of code is so present, and so underlies every 
other code, that we find each in the other. Take an entirely different example: 
madness. The attempt to encode madness has been carried out in three forms. 
First, the forms of law, i.e. the hospital, the asylum — this is the repressive code, 
locking someone away, but the old style of locking someone away, which is des- 
tined to become a last hope, when people will say: "those were the good old days 
when they used to lock us away, because much worse is in store for us." And then 
you have this brilliant move which was psychoanalysis: it was understood that 
there were people who escaped the bourgeois contractual relation as it was man- 



ifested in medicine, and those people were the disturbed, because they couldn't 
be contractual parties, they were juridically "incapable." Freud's stroke of genius 
was to get at least some of the disturbed, in the largest sense of the word, the neu- 
rotics, to pass through the contractual relation, proving that a contract with such 
people could be done (thus he abandons hypnosis). This is finally the novelty of 
psychoanalysis: Freud was the first to introduce into psychiatry the bourgeois 
contractual relation which up to that point had been excluded from psychiatry. 
And then there are the still more recent attempts to encode madness, whose 
political implications, and at times revolutionary ambitions, are clear; such 
attempts are called institutional. In this case, we find the triple means of encod- 
ing: either it will be the law, or if it is not the law, it will be the contractual 
relation; if not the contractual relation, it will be the institution. And it is thanks 
to these encodings that our bureaucracies flourish. 

Faced with the way in which our societies come uncoded, codes leaking 
away on every side, Nietzsche does not try to perform a recoding. He says: this 
hasn't yet gone far enough, you're nothing but children ("the equalization of 
European individuals is the great irreversible process: we should accelerate it still 
more.") In terms of what he writes and thinks, Nietzsche's enterprise is an 
attempt at uncoding, not in the sense of a relative uncoding which would be the 
decoding of codes past, present, or future, but an absolute encoding — to get 
something through which is not encodable, to mix up all the codes. It is not so 
easy to mix up all the codes, even at the level of the simplest writing, and lan- 
guage. The similarity I see here is with Kafka, what Kafka does with German, 
in accordance with the linguistic situation of the Jews in Prague: he builds a 
war-machine in German against German; through sheer indetermination and 
sobriety, he gets something through in the German code which had never been 
heard before. Nietzsche, for his part, wants to be or sees himself as Polish with 
respect to German. He seizes on German to build a war-machine which will get 
something through that will be uncodable in German. That's what style as pol- 
itics means. More generally, how do we characterize such thought, which claims 
to get its flows through, underneath the laws by challenging them, and under- 
neath contractual relations by contradicting them, and underneath institutions 
by parodying them? Let me come back quickly to the example of psychoanaly- 
sis. In what respect does a psychoanalyst as original as Melanie Klein still remain 
within the psychoanalytic system? She explains it herself quite well: the partial 
objects that she tells us about, with their explosions, their flows, etc., are only 
fantasy. The patients bring lived experiences, intensely lived experiences, to 
Melanie Klein and she translates them into fantasy. There you have a contract, 
specifically a contract: give me your lived experiences, and I will give you fan- 
tasies. And the contract implies an exchange, an exchange of money and words. 
In this respect, a psychoanalyst like Winnicott truly occupies the limit of psy- 
choanalysis, because he feels that this procedure is no longer appropriate after a 



certain point. There comes a point where it is no longer about translating, or 
interpreting, translating into fantasies, interpreting into signifiers and signi- 
fieds — no, not in the least. There comes a point where you will have to share, 
have to put yourself in the patient's shoes, go all the way, and share his experi- 
ence. Is it about a kind of sympathy, or empathy, or identification? But surely it's 
more complicated than that. What we feel is rather the necessity of a relation that 
would be neither legal, nor contractual, nor institutional. That's how it is with 
Nietzsche. We read an aphorism or a poem from Thus Spoke Zarathustra. But 
materially and formally, texts like that cannot be understood by the establish- 
ment or the application of a law, or by the offer of a contractual relation, or by 
the foundation of an institution. Perhaps the only conceivable equivalent is 
something like "being in the same boat." Something of Pascal turned against 
Pascal. We're in the same boat: a sort of lifeboat, bombs falling on every side, 
the lifeboat drifts toward subterranean rivers of ice, or toward rivers of fire, the 
Orenoco, the Amazon, everyone is pulling an oar, and we're not even supposed 
to like one another, we fight, we eat each other. Everyone pulling an oar is shar- 
ing, sharing something, beyond any law, any contract, any institution. Drifting, 
a drifting movement or "deterritorialization": I say all this in a vague, confused 
way, since this is an hypothesis or a vague impression on the originality of Niet- 
zsche's texts. A new kind of book. 

So what are the characteristics of a Nietzschean aphorism that give this 
impression? There is one in particular that Maurice Blanchot has brought to light 
in The Infinite Conversation? It is the relation with the outside. Indeed, when we 
open at random one of Nietzsche's texts, it is one of the first times we no longer 
pass through an interior, whether it is the interior of the soul or consciousness, 
the interior of essence or the concept, in other words, that which has always con- 
stituted the principle of philosophy. What constitutes the style of philosophy is 
that the relation to the exterior is always mediated and dissolved by an interior, 
in an interior. On the contrary, Nietzsche grounds thought, and writing, in an 
immediate relation with the outside. What is this: a beautiful painting or a beau- 
tiful drawing? There is a frame. An aphorism has a frame, too. But whatever is 
in the frame, at what point does it become beautiful? At the moment one knows 
and feels that the movement, that the line which is framed comes from else- 
where, that it does not begin within the limits of the frame. It began above, or 
next to the frame, and the line traverses the frame. As in Godard's film, you paint 
the painting with the wall. Far from being the limitation of the pictorial surface, 
the frame is almost the opposite, putting it into immediate relation with the out- 
side. However, hooking up thought to the outside is, strictly speaking, something 
philosophers have never done, even when they were talking about politics, even 
when they were talking about taking a walk or fresh air. It is not enough to talk 
about fresh air, to talk about the exterior if you want to hook thought up direct- 
ly and immediately to the outside. 



"...They show up like destiny, without cause or reason, without considera- 
tion or pretext, there they are with the speed of lightning, too terrible, too 
sudden, too conquering, too other even to be an object of hatred..." This is Niet- 
zsche's famous text on the founders of States, "those artists with eyes of bronze" 
(The Genealogy of Morals, II, 17). Or is it Kafka, writing The Great Wall of China?. 
"It's impossible to understand how they made it all the way to the capital, which 
is nonetheless quite far from the frontier. But there they are, and every morning 
seems to increase their number. [...] Impossible to converse with them. They 
don't know our language. [...] Even their horses are meat-eaters!" 4 Well then, 
what I am saying is that texts like these are traversed by a movement which comes 
from the outside, which does not begin in the page of the book, nor in the pre- 
ceding pages, which does not fit in the frame of the book, and which is totally 
different from the imaginary movement of representations or the abstract move- 
ment of concepts as they are wont to take place through words and in the reader's 
head. Something leaps from the book, making contact with a pure outside. It is 
this, I believe, which for Nietzsche's work is the right to misinterpret. An apho- 
rism is a play of forces, a state of forces which are always exterior to one another. 
An aphorism doesn't mean anything, it signifies nothing, and no more has a sig- 
nifier than a signified. Those would be ways of restoring a text's interiority. An 
aphorism is a state of forces, the last of which, meaning at once the most recent, 
the most actual, and the provisional-ultimate, is the most external. Nietzsche 
posits it quite clearly: if you want to know what I mean, find the force that gives 
what I say meaning, and a new meaning if need be. Hook the text up to this 
force. In this way, there are no problems of interpretation for Nietzsche, there are 
only problems of machining: to machine Nietzsche's text, to find out which actu- 
al external force will get something through, like a current of energy. In this 
respect, we come across the problem raised by some of Nietzsche's texts which 
have a fascist or anti-Semitic resonance... And since we are discussing Nietzsche 
today, we must acknowledge that he has inspired and inspires still many a young 
fascist. There was a time when it was important to show how Nietzsche was used, 
twisted, and completely distorted by the fascists. This was done in the revue 
Acephale, with Jean Wahl, Bataille, and Klossowski. Today, however, this is per- 
haps no longer the problem. It is not at the level of the text that we must fight. 
Not because we are incapable of fighting at that level, but because such a fight is 
no longer useful. Rather, we must find, assign, join those external forces which 
give to any particular Nietzschean phrase its liberating meaning, its sense of exte- 
riority. It is at the level of method that the question of Nietzsche's revolutionary 
character is raised: it is the Nietzschean method that makes Nietzsche's text not 
something about which we have to ask: "is this fascist, bourgeois, or revolution- 
ary in itself?" — but a field of exteriority where fascist, bourgeois, and 
revolutionary forces confront one another. And if we pose the problem in this 
way, the answer that necessarily conforms with the method is: find the revolu- 



tionary force (who is superman?) always calling on new forces which come from 
the exterior, and which traverse and intersect with the Nietzschean text in the 
frame of the aphorism. There is your legitimate misinterpretation: to treat the 
aphorism like a phenomenon awaiting new forces that will "subjugate" it or 
make it work or explode. 

The aphorism is not only relation with the outside. Its second characteristic 
is relation with the intensive. And they're the same thing. Klossowski and 
Lyotard have said all there is to say on the matter. What I said about lived expe- 
riences a moment ago, how they mustn't be translated into representations or 
fantasies, how they mustn't be made to pass through the codes of law, contract, 
or institution, they mustn't be cashed in — it's quite the opposite: they must be 
treated as flows which carry us always farther out, ever further toward the exte- 
rior; this is precisely intensity, or intensities. The lived experience is not 
subjective, or not necessarily. It is not of the individual. It is flow and the inter- 
ruption of flow, since each intensity is necessarily in relation to another intensity, 
in such a way that something gets through. This is what is underneath the codes, 
what escapes them, and what the codes want to translate, convert, cash in. But 
what Nietzsche is trying to tell us by this writing of intensities is: don't exchange 
the intensity for representations. The intensity sends you back neither to signi- 
fieds which would be like the representations of things, nor to signifiers which 
would be like the representations of words. So in what does intensity consist, as 
both agent and object of uncoding? This is where Nietzsche is at his most mys- 
terious. The intensity has to do with proper names, and these are neither 
representations of things (or persons), nor representations of words. Whether 
they are collective or individual names, the pre-Socratics, the Romans, the Jews, 
Christ, the Anti-Christ, Julius Caesar, Borgia, Zarathoustra, all the proper names 
which come and go in Nietzsche's texts are neither signifiers or signifieds, but 
designate intensities on a body which can be the body of the Earth, the body of 
the book, as well as Nietzsche's own suffering body: lam every name in history... 
There is a kind of nomadism, a perpetual migration of the intensities designated 
by proper names, and these interpenetrate one another as they are lived on a full 
body. The intensity can be lived only in relation to its mobile inscription on a 
body, and to the moving exteriority of a proper name, and this is what it means 
for a proper name to be always a mask, the mask of an operator. 

The relation of the aphorism to humor and irony is the third point. Who- 
ever reads Nietzsche without laughing, and laughing heartily and often and 
sometimes hysterically, is almost not reading Nietzsche at all. This is true not 
only for Nietzsche, but for all the authors who comprise the same horizon of our 
counter-culture. What shows us our own decadence and degeneracy is the way 
we feel the need to read in them anguish, solitude, guilt, the drama of commu- 
nication, the whole tragedy of interiority. Even Max Brod tells us how the 
audience would laugh hysterically when Kafka used to read The Trial. And 



Beckett, I mean, it is difficult not to laugh when you read him, moving from one 
joyful moment to the next. Laughter, not the signifier. What springs from great 
books is schizo-laughter or revolutionary joy, not the anguish of our pathetic nar- 
cissism, not the terror of our guilt. Call it the "comedy of the superhuman," or 
the "clowning of God." There is always an indescribable joy that springs from 
great books, even when they speak of ugly, desperate, or terrifying things. The 
transmutation already takes effect with every great book, and every great book 
constitutes the health of tomorrow. You cannot help but laugh when you mix up 
the codes. If you put thought in relation to the outside, Dionysian moments of 
laughter will erupt, and this is thinking in the clear air. It often happens that 
Nietzsche comes face to face with something sickening, ignoble, disgusting. 
Well, Nietzsche thinks it's funny, and he would add fuel to the fire if he could. 
He says: keep going, it's still not disgusting enough. Or he says: excellent, how 
disgusting, what a marvel, what a masterpiece, a poisonous flower, finally the 
"human species is getting interesting." For example, this is how Nietzsche looks 
at and deals with what he calls unhappy consciousness. Thus, there are the 
Hegelian commentators, those commentators of interiority, who really have no 
sense of humor. They say: you see, Nietzsche takes the unhappy consciousness 
seriously; he makes it one of the moments in the becoming-spirit of spirituality. 
They pass over quickly what Nietzsche makes of spirituality because they sense 
the danger. So we see that while Nietzsche entitles legitimate misinterpretations, 
there are also misinterpretations which are totally illegitimate, those which are 
explained by the spirit of seriousness, by the spirit of gravity, by the monkey of 
Zarathoustra, in other words, by the cult of interiority. Laughter in Nietzsche 
always harks back to the external movement of humors and ironies, and this is 
the movement of intensities, as Klossowski and Lyotard have made clear: the way 
in which there is a play of high and low intensities, the one in the other, such 
that a low intensity can undermine the highest intensity and even be as high as 
the highest, and vice versa. This play of levels of intensity controls the peaks of 
irony and the valleys of humor in Nietzsche, and it is developed as the consis- 
tency or the quality of what is lived in relation to the exterior. An aphorism is the 
pure matter of laughter and joy. If you cannot find something to make you laugh 
in an aphorism, a distribution of irony and humor, a partition of intensities, then 
you have found nothing. 

There is one last point. Let's come back to that great text, The Genealogy of 
Morals, on the State and the founders of empires: "They show up like destiny, 
without cause or reason...." In this we recognize the men of that social produc- 
tion known as Asiatic. On the foundation of primitive rural communities, the 
despot sets up his imperial machine which over-codes everything, with a bureau- 
cracy, an administration that organizes major enterprises and appropriates the 
surplus work for itself ("wherever they appear, in no time at all you find some- 
thing new, a sovereign machinery that has come alive, in which every part, every 



function is defined and determined with respect to the whole...")- But we can ask 
ourselves whether this text does not bring together two forces that are in other 
ways distinct — which Kafka, for his part, kept separate and even opposed in The 
Great Wall of China. Because when we seek to learn how primitive segmentary 
communities gave way to other formations of sovereignty, a question which Niet- 
zsche raises in the second essay of his Genealogy, we see two phenomena 
produced which are strictly correlative, but quite different. It is true that rural 
communities at their center are caught and transfixed in the despot's bureaucrat- 
ic machine, with its scribes, its priests, its bureaucrats; but on the periphery, the 
communities embark on another kind of adventure, display another kind of 
unity, a nomadic unity, and engage in a nomadic war-machine, and they tend to 
come uncoded rather than being coded over. Entire groups take off on a nomadic 
adventure: archeologist have taught us to consider nomadism not as an originary 
state, but as an adventure that erupts in sedentary groups; it is the call of the out- 
side, it is movement. The nomad and his war-machine stand opposite the despot 
and his administrative machine, and the extrinsic nomadic unity opposite the 
intrinsic despotic unity. And yet they are so interrelated or interdependent that 
the despot will set himself the problem of integrating, internalizing the nomadic 
war-machine, while the nomad attempts to invent an administration for his con- 
quered empire. Their ceaseless opposition is such that they are inextricable from 
one another. 

Imperial unity gave birth to philosophical discourse, through many an 
avatar, the same avatars which lead us from imperial formations to the Greek 
city-state. Even in the Greek city-state, philosophical discourse maintains an 
essential relation to the despot or the shadow of a despot, to imperialism, to the 
administration of things and persons (you will find ample evidence in the books 
by Strauss and Kojeve on tyranny). 5 Philosophical discourse has always main- 
tained an essential relation to the law, the institution, and the contract, all of 
which are the Sovereign's problem, traversing the ages of sedentary history from 
despotic formations to democracies. The "signifier" is in fact the latest philo- 
sophical avatar of the despot. And if Nietzsche does not belong in philosophy, 
perhaps it is because he is the first to conceive of another kind of discourse, a 
counter-philosophy, in other words, a discourse that is first and foremost 
nomadic, whose utterances would be produced not by a rational administrative 
machine — philosophers would be the bureaucrats of pure reason — but by a 
mobile war-machine. Perhaps this is what Nietzsche means when he says that a 
new politics begins with him (Klossowki calls it the conspiracy against his own 
class). We know all too well that nomads are unhappy in our regimes: we use 
any means necessary to pin them down, so they lead a troubled life. And Niet- 
zsche lived like a nomad, reduced to this shadow, wandering from one furnished 
room to another. But also, the nomad is not necessarily someone who moves 
around: some journeys take place in the same place, they'te journeys in intensi- 



ty, and even historically speaking, nomads don't move around like migrants. On 
the contrary, nomads are motionless, and the nomadic adventure begins when 
they seek to stay in the same place by escaping the codes. As we know, the rev- 
olutionary problem today is to find some unity in our various struggles without 
falling back on the despotic and bureaucratic organization of the party or State 
, apparatus: we want a war-machine that would not recreate a State apparatus, a 
nomadic unity in relation with the Outside, that would not recreate the despot- 
ic internal unity. This is perhaps Nietzsche at his most profound, a measure of 
his break with philosophy, as it appears in the aphorism: to have made a war- 
machine of thought, to have made thought a nomadic power. And even if the 
journey goes nowhere, even if it takes place in the same place, imperceptible, 
unlooked for, underground, we must ask: who are today's nomads, who are 
today's Nietzscheans? 


Andre Flecheux: What I would like to know is how [Deleuze] thinks he can 
pass over deconstruction, I mean, how he thinks a monadic reading of each 
aphorism from an empirical stance and as though from the outside could suf- 
fice — which from a Heideggerian point of view seems extremely suspect. I 
wonder whether the problem of the "already there," constituted by language, 
the reigning order, what you call the despot, allows us to understand Nietzsche's 
writing as a kind of erratic reading, which would itself derive from an erratic 
writing, with Nietzsche applying to himself what he calls auto-critique, the cur- 
rent editions of his work revealing him to be an exceptional stylist, and 
consequently, each aphorism is not a closed system, but is implicated in a total 
structure of relays. Perhaps your thinking on the status of an undeconstructed 
outside is connected to the status of the energetic in Lyotard. 

My second question is related to the first: in an era that has seen the state 
organization, or the capitalist organization, whatever you call it, issue a chal- 
lenge which is what Heidegger calls rationalization by technology, do you 
honestly believe nomadism, as you describe it, to be a serious response? 

Gilles Deleuze: If I understand you correctly, you're saying that there is reason 
to suspect my loyalties to the Heideggerian point of view. I'm glad there is. As 
for the method of textual deconstruction, I know what it is, and I admire it, 
but it has nothing to do with my own method. I don't really do textual com- 
mentary. For me, a text is nothing but a cog in a larger extra-textual practice. 
It's not about using deconstruction, or any other textual practice, to do textu- 
al commentary; it's about seeing what one can do with an extra-textual practice 
that extends the text. You ask me whether I believe in nomads as an answer. 
Yes, I do. Genghis Kahn is nothing to sneeze at. Will he come back from the 



dead? I don't know, but if he does it will be in some other form. Just as the 
despot internalizes the nomadic war-machine, capitalist society never stops 
internalizing a revolutionary war-machine. It's not on the periphery that the 
new nomads are being born (because there is no more periphery); I want to 
find out what sort of nomads, even motionless and stationary if need be, our 
society is capable of producing. 

Andre Flecheux: Yes, but you omitted in your presentation what you referred 

to as interiority... 

Gilles Deleuze: You're punning on the word "interiority"... 

Andre Flecheux: The inner journey? 

Gilles Deleuze: I said "motionless journey." It's not an inner journey, it's a jour- 
ney on a body, and collective bodies if necessary. 

Mieke Taat: Gilles Deleuze, if I have understood you correctly, you oppose 
laughter, humor, and irony to unhappy consciousness. Would you agree that the 
laughter of Kafka, Beckett, and Nietzsche does not exclude the weeping of these 
writers, provided that their tears do not spring from some inner or internalized 
source, but are simply the production of flows on the surface of a body...? 

Gilles Deleuze: I think you're right. 

Mieke Taat: One more question. When you oppose irony and humor to unhap- 
py consciousness, you no longer make a distinction between humor and irony, 
as you did in The Logic of Sense, where one was surface and the other depth. Are 
you not afraid that irony is dangerously close to unhappy consciousness? 

Gilles Deleuze: I've undergone a change. The surface-depth opposition no 
longer concerns me. What interests me now is the relationships between a full 
body, a body without organs, and flows that migrate. 

Mieke Taat: But then resentment would not be excluded, would it? 

Gilles Deleuze: Yes, it would! 


On Capitalism and Desire 1 

Actuel: In your description of capitalism, you say: "There isn't the slightest oper- 
ation, the slightest industrial or financial mechanism that fails to manifest the 
dementia of the capitalist system and the pathological character of its rationality 
(not a false rationality at all, but a true rationality of this pathology, this mad- 
ness, because the machine works, there can be no doubt). There is no danger of 
it going insane, because through and through it is already insane, from the get- 
go, and that's where its rationality comes from." Does this mean that after this 
"abnormal" society, or outside it, there can be a "normal" society? 

Gilles Deleuze: We don't use the words "normal" and "abnormal." Every society 
is at once rational and irrational. They are necessarily rational in their mecha- 
nisms, their gears and wheels, their systems of connection, and even by virtue of 
the place they assign to the irrational. All this presupposes, however, codes or 
axioms which do not result by chance, but which do not have an intrinsic ratio- 
nality either. It's just like theology: everything about it is quite rational if you 
accept sin, the immaculate conception, and the incarnation. Reason is always a 
region carved out of the irrational — not sheltered from the irrational at all, but 
traversed by it and only defined by a particular kind of relationship among irra- 
tional factors. Underneath all reason lies delirium, and drift. Everything about 
capitalism is rational, except capital or capitalism. A stock-market is a perfectly 
rational mechanism, you can understand it, learn how it works; capitalists know 
how to use it; and yet what a delirium, it's nuts. This is what we mean when we 
say that the rational is always the rationality of an irrational. Something that has 
not been discussed in Marx's Capital is the extent to which he is fascinated by cap- 
italist mechanisms, precisely because, at one and the same time, it is demented 
and it works. So then what is rational in a society? Once interests have been 
defined within the confines of a society, the rational is the way in which people 



pursue those interests and attempt to realize them. But underneath that, you find 
desires, investments of desire that are not to be confused with investments of 
interest, and on which interests depend for their determination and very distrib- 
ution: an enormous flow, all kinds of libidinal-unconscious flows that constitute 
the delirium of this society. In reality, history is the history of desire. Today's cap- 
italist or technocrat does not desire in the same way a slave trader or a bureaucrat 
from the old Chinese empire would have. When people in a society desire repres- 
sion, for others and for themselves; when there are people who like to harass others, 
and who have the opportunity to do so, the "right" to do so, this exhibits the 
problem of a deep connection between libidinal desire and the social field. There 
exists a "disinterested" love for the oppressive machine: Nietzsche has some beau- 
tiful things to say about this permanent triumph of slaves, about the way the 
embittered, the depressed, or the weak manage to impose their way of life on us. 

Actuel: What, precisely, is proper to capitalism in what you've just described? 

Gilles Deleuze: Perhaps it's that, in capitalism, desire and interest, or desire and rea- 
son, are distributed in a totally new way, a particularly "abnormal" way. Capital, or 
money, has reached such a stage of delirium that there would be only one equiva- 
lent in psychiatry: what they call the terminal state. It's too complicated to describe 
here, but let me just say this: in other societies, you have exploitation, you have 
scandals and secrets, but it's all part of the "code." There are even explicitly secret 
codes. In capitalism, it's completely different: nothing is secret, at least in principle 
and according to the code (that's why capitalism is "democratic" and "publicizes" 
itself, even in the juridical sense of the term). And yet nothing is admissible. Legal- 
ity itself is inadmissible. In contrast to other societies, the regime of capitalism is 
both public and inadmissible. This very special delirium is proper to the regime of 
money. Just look at what they call scandals today: the newspapers talk about them 
incessantly, everyone pretends either to defend themselves or to go on the attack; 
but the search for anything illegal comes up empty-handed, given the nature of the 
regime of capital. Everything is legal: the prime minister's tax returns, real-estate 
deals, lobbyists, and generally the economic and financial mechanisms of capital — 
everything except the little screw-ups; still more to the point, everything is public 
but nothing is admissible. If the left were "reasonable," it would be satisfied with vul- 
garizing economic and financial mechanisms. There's no need to make the private 
public, just admit what is already public. Then a dementia without precedent would 
be found in all the hospitals. Instead, they keep talking about "ideology." Ideology 
has no importance here: what matters is not ideology, and not even the "economic 
/ ideological" distinction or opposition; what matters is the organization of power. 
Because the organization of power, i.e. the way in which desire is already in the eco- 
nomic, the way libido invests the economic, haunts the economic and fosters the 
political forms of repression. 



Actuel: Ideology is smoke and mirrors? 

Gilles Deleuze: That's not what I mean. Saying that "ideology is smoke and mir- 
rors" is still the traditional thesis. On one side you put the serious stuff, the 
economy, the infrastructure, and then on the other side you put the superstructure, 
to which ideology belongs. And thus you restrict the phenomena of desire to ide- 
ology. It's a perfect way to ignore how desire works on the infrastructure, invests it, 
belongs to it, and how desire thereby organizes power: it organizes the system of 
repression. We're not saying that ideology is smoke and mirrors (or any other con- 
cept that serves to designate an illusion). We're saying: there is no ideology, the 
concept itself is an illusion. That's why it suits the Communist Party and orthodox 
Marxism so well. Marxism has given such emphasis to the theme of ideologies pre- 
cisely to cover up what was going on in the USSR: a new organization of repressive 
power. There is no ideology, there are only organizations of power, once you accept 
that the organization of power is the unity of desire and the economic infrastruc- 
ture. Let's take two examples. Education: the Leftists of May '68 wasted a lot of 
time insisting that professors publicly criticize themselves as agents of bourgeois 
ideology. It's stupid, and it fuels the masochistic impulses of academics. They aban- 
doned the struggle against the competitive examination and opted instead for 
polemic, or the great public anti-ideological confession. During which time, the 
most hard-line profs were able to reorganize their power without too much diffi- 
culty. The problem of education is not ideological in nature, it's a problem of the 
organization of power: the specificity of educational power makes it appear ideo- 
logical, but that's a red-herring. Power in grammar school, now that means 
something, every child is subjected to it. The second example: Christianity. The 
Church is all too happy to be treated as an ideology. They want to discuss it — it 
encourages ecumenism. But Christianity has never been an ideology. It is a very 
original, specific organization of power which has taken diverse forms from the 
Roman Empire through the Middle Ages, and which was able to invent the idea 
of an international power. It's far more important than ideology. 

Felix Guattari: The same goes for traditional political structures. It's always the 
same old trick: a big ideological debate in the general assembly, and the questions 
of organization are reserved for special committees. These look secondary, hav- 
ing been determined by political options. Whereas, in fact, the real problems are 
precisely the problems of organization, never made explicit or rationalized, but 
recast after the fact in ideological terms. The real divisions emerge in organiza- 
tion: a particular way of treating desire and power, investments, 
group-Oedipuses, group-super-egos, phenomena of perversion... Only then are 
the political oppositions built up: an individual chooses one position over anoth- 
er, because in the scheme of the organization of power, he has already chosen and 
hates his opponent. 



Actuel: Your overall analysis of the Soviet Union or capitalism is convincing, but 
what about the particulars? If every ideological opposition by definition masks 
conflicts of desire, how would you analyze, for example, the divergence of three 
Trotskyite splinter-groups? What conflicts of desire, if any, do you see there? In 
spite of their political quarrels, each group seems to fulfil the same function for its 
members: it offers them the security of a hierarchy, a social milieu on a reduced 
scale, and a definitive explanation of the world... I don't see the difference. 

Felix Guattari: Provided we recognize that any resemblance to an existing group 
is purely fortuitous, we can imagine that one of the groups initially defines itself 
by its fidelity to the rigid positions of the communist left during the creation of 
the Third International. Now you adopt a whole axiomatics, down to the phono- 
logical level — the pronunciation of certain words, the gesture that accompanies 
it, not to mention the structures of organization, the conception of the relation- 
ships to be maintained with allies on the left, with centrists and adversaries... 
This universe can correspond to a particular figure of Oedipalization, very much 
like the intangible and reassuring universe of the obsessive who loses his bearings 
as soon as you displace a familiar object. This identification with recurrent 
images and figures is meant to achieve a certain kind of efficacy that character- 
ized Stalinism — except for its ideology, precisely. In other respects, they keep the 
overall framework of the method, but they're receptive to change: "Comrades, we 
must recognize that if the enemy remains the same, the conditions have 
changed." So the splinter group is more open. It's a compromise: the initial 
image has been crossed out while being maintained, and other notions have been 
added. Meetings and training sessions multiply, but so do external interventions. 
As Zazie says, the desiring will has a way of harassing students and militants. 

As for the basic problems, all these groups say more or less the same thing. 
Where they radically differ is style: a particular definition of the leader or propa- 
ganda, a particular conception of discipline, or the fidelity, modesty, and 
asceticism of a militant. How do you propose to account for these differences if 
you don't go rummaging around in the social machine's economy of desire? From 
the anarchists to the Maoists, the diversity is incredibly wide, analytically as well 
as politically. And don't forget, beyond the shrinking fringe of splinter groups, 
that mass of people who don't know what to choose: the leftist movement, the 
attraction of unions, straightforward revolt, indifference... We must try to 
explain the role these splinter groups play in crushing desire, like machines 
grinding and tamping it down. It's a dilemma: to be broken by the social system, 
or to fall into your preordained place in these little churches. In this respect, May 
'68 was an astonishing revelation. Desiring power accelerated to a point where it 
exploded all the splinter groups. They regrouped later on when they participat- 
ed in the business of restoring order with other repressive forces: the CGT 
[Communist Workers' Union], the PC [Communist Party], the CRS [the riot 



police], or Edgar Faure. I'm not saying that to be provocative. It goes without 
saying that the militants were courageous to fight against the police. But if we 
leave the sphere of struggle, the sphere of interests, to consider instead the func- 
tion of desire, you must admit that the recruiters of certain splinter groups 
approached the youth in a spirit of repression: they wanted to contain the desire 
which had been liberated to re-channel it. 

Actuel: Sure, but what is a liberated desire? I see how it could work on an indi- 
vidual or group level: artistic creation, smashing windows, burning things, or even 
simply having an orgy, or letting everything go to hell through sheer laziness. But 
then what? What would be a collectively liberated desire on the scale of a social 
group? Can you give any precise examples? And what does that mean for the 
"totality of society," if you don't reject that term as Foucault does. 

Felix Guattari: We chose as our reference a state of desire at its most critical and 
acute: the desire of the schizophrenic. And the schizophrenic who is able to pro- 
duce something, beyond or beneath the schizophrenic who has been locked up, 
beaten down with drugs and social repression. In our opinion, some schizo- 
phrenics directly express a free deciphering of desire. But how does one conceive 
of a collective form of desiring economy? Well, not locally. I have a hard time 
imagining a small group which has been liberated staying together as it is traversed 
by the flows of a repressive society, as though one liberated individual after anoth- 
er could just be added on. But if desire constitutes the very texture of society in 
its totality, including its mechanisms of reproduction, a movement of liberation 
can "crystallize" in that society. In May '68, from the first sparks to the local clash- 
es, the upheaval was brutally transmitted to the whole society — including groups 
that had nothing at all to do with the revolutionary movement: doctors, lawyers, 
merchants. Vested interest prevailed in the end, but only after a month of burn- 
ings. We're headed for explosions of this type, yet more profound. 

Actuel: Might there have already occurred in history a vigorous, lasting libera- 
tion of desire, beyond brief periods of celebration, war, and carnage, or 
revolutions for a day? Or do you believe in an end to history: after millennia of 
alienation, social evolution will one day turn around in a final revolution to lib- 
erate desire forever? 

Felix Guattari: Neither. Not in a definitive end to history, and not in provision- 
al excess. Every civilization and every epoch have had their ends to history. It's 
not necessarily insightful or liberating. The moments of excess, the celebrations 
are hardly more reassuring. There are militant revolutionaries who feel a sense of 
responsibility and say: excess, celebration, yes — "at the first stage of revolution." 
But there is always a second stage: organization, operation, all the serious stuff... 



Nor is desire liberared in simple moments of celebration. Just look at the discus- 
sion between Victor and Foucault, in the issue of Les Temps Modernes devoted to 
the Maoists. 2 Victor consents to excess, but only at "the first stage." As for the 
rest, the serious stuff, Victor calls for a new State apparatus, new norms, popular 
justice by tribunal, invoking an authority exterior to the masses, a third party 
capable of resolving the contradictions of the masses. We come up against the 
same old schema again and again: they detach a pseudo avant-garde able to bring 
about syntheses, to form a party as an embryonic State apparatus; they levy 
recruits from a well-educated, well-behaved working class; and the rest, lumpen 
proletariat, is a residue not to be trusted (always the old condemnation of desire). 
These very distinctions only trap desire to serve a bureaucratic caste-system. Fou- 
cault responds by denouncing the third party, saying that if such a thing as 
popular justice does exist, it certainly won't come from a tribunal. He clearly 
demonstrates how the "avant-garde / proletariat / non-proletarian plebs" distinc- 
tion is originally a distinction which the bourgeoisie introduces into the masses, 
to crush the phenomena of desire and marginalize it. The whole question turns 
on a State apparatus. Why would you look to a party or State apparatus to lib- 
erate desires? It's bizarre. Wanting improved justice is like wanting good judges, 
good cops, good bosses, a cleaner France, etc. And then we are told: how do you 
propose to unify isolated struggles without a State apparatus? The revolution 
clearly needs a war-machine, but that's not a State apparatus. It also needs an 
analytic force, an analyzer of the desires of the masses, absolutely — but not an 
external mechanism of synthesis. What is liberated desire? A desire that escapes 
the impasse of individual private fantasy: it's not about adapting desire, socializ- 
ing and disciplining it, but hooking it up in such a way that its process is 
uninterrupted in the social body, so its expression can be collective. The most 
important thing is not authoritarian unification, but a kind of infinite swarming: 
desires in the neighborhood, the schools, factories, prisons, nursery schools, etc. 
It's not about a make-over, or totalization, but hooking up on the same plane at 
its tipping point. As long as we stick to the alternative between the impotent 
spontaneity of anarchy and the hierarchical and bureaucratic encoding of a 
party-organization, there can be no liberation of desire. 

Actuel: Do you think that capitalism in its beginnings was able to subsume social 

Gilles Deleuze: Of course. Capitalism has always been, and still is a remarkable 
desiring-machine. Flows of money, flows of the means of production, flows of 
man-power, flows of new markets: it's all desire in flux. You just have to exam- 
ine the many contingencies that gave birth to capitalism to realize how 
inseparable from the phenomena of desire are its infrastructure and economy, 
and the extent to which it is a criss-crossing of desires. And don't forget fascism. 



It too "subsumes social desires," including the desires of repression and death. 
Hitler and the fascist machine gave people hard-ons. But if your question wants 
to ask: was capitalism in its beginnings revolutionary, did the industrial revolu- 
tion ever coincide with a social revolution? The answer is no. At least I don't 
think so. From its birth capitalism has been connected with a savage repression. 
It very quickly acquired its organization and State apparatus. Did capitalism 
entail the dissolution of previous codes and powers? Absolutely. But it had 
already set up the gears of its power, including its State power, in the fissures of 
previous regimes. It's always like that: there is very little progress. Even before a 
social formation gets going, its instruments of exploitation and repression are 
already there, aimlessly spinning their wheels, but ready to swing into high gear. 
The first capitalist are waiting there like birds of prey, waiting to swoop on the 
worker who has fallen through the cracks of the previous system. This is what is 
meant by primitive accumulation. 

Actuel: In my view, the rising bourgeoisie was imagining and preparing its revo- 
lution throughout the Enlightenment. The bourgeoisie in its own eyes was a 
revolutionary class "to the bitter end," since it came to power by bringing down 
the Ancient Regime. Whatever the movements that existed among the peasantry 
and the working class, the bourgeois revolution is a revolution carried out by the 
bourgeoisie — the two terms are synonymous. So, it is anachronistic to judge the 
bourgeoisie by the socialist Utopias of the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries; it 
leads to the introduction of a category that never existed. 

Gilles Deleuze: Here again, what you're saying fits the schema of a particular 
kind of Marxism: it supposes that the bourgeoisie is revolutionary at some point 
in history, and even that it was or is necessary to go through a capitalist stage, 
through a bourgeois revolutionary stage. That's a Stalinist point of view, but it's 
hard to take seriously. When a social formation exhausts itself and begins to leak 
on every side, all sorts of things come uncoded, all sorts of unpoliced flows begin 
circulating: for example, the migrations of peasants in feudal Europe are phe- 
nomena of "deterritorialization." The bourgeoisie imposes a new code, both 
economic and political, so you might think it was revolutionary. Not in the least. 
Daniel Guerin has said some profound things about the Revolution of 1789. 3 
The bourgeoisie never mistook its real enemy. Its real enemy was not the previ- 
ous system, but that which had escaped the control of the previous system, and 
the bourgeoisie was resolved to control it in its turn. The bourgeoisie owed its 
power to the dissolution of the old system; but it could exercise this new power 
only by considering the other revolutionaries as enemies. The bourgeoisie was 
never revolutionary. It had the revolution carried out for it. It manipulated, 
channeled, repressed an enormous surge of popular desire. The people marched 
to their death at Valmy. 



Actuel: They certainly marched to their death at Verdun. 

Felix Guattari: Exactly. This is precisely what interests us. Where do these 
eruptions, these uprisings, these enthusiasms come from? They can't be 
explained by a social rationality, and the moment they're born, they're rerout- 
ed, captured by power. A revolutionary situation cannot be explained simply 
by the analysis of interests present at the time. In 1903, the Russian Social- 
Democratic party is discussing its alliances, the organization of the proletariat, 
and the role of the avant-garde. All of the sudden, while the Social-Democrats 
are "preparing" for revolution, they're rocked by the events of 1905 and have 
to jump aboard a moving train. A crystallization of desire on a wide social scale 
had occured, whose basis lay in still incomprehensible situations. The same is 
true of 1917. In this case, the politicians again jumped aboard, and they gained 
control of it. Yet no revolutionary tendency was willing or able to assume the 
need for a Soviet organization that would have allowed the masses to take real 
charge of their interests and desires. Machines called political organizations 
were put in circulation, and they functioned according to the model Dimitrov 
had developed at the Seventh International Congress — alternating between 
popular fronts and sectarian retractions — and they always lead to the same 
repressive results. We saw it again in 1936, 1945, and 1968. By their axiomat- 
ics, these mass machines refuse to liberate revolutionary energy. Red flag in 
hand, this politics in its underhanded way reminds one of the politics of the 
President or the clergy. And in our view, this corresponds to a certain position 
vis-a-vis desire, a profound way of envisioning the ego, the individual, and the 
family. This raises a simple dilemma: either we find some new type of structure 
to facilitate the fusion of collective desire and revolutionary organization; or we 
continue on the present course, heading from one repression to the next, 
toward a fascism that will make Hitler and Mussolini look like a joke. 

Actuel: So then what is the nature of this profound, fundamental desire that 
we see constitutes humanity and human beings as social animals, but which is 
constantly betrayed? Why is it always ready to be invested in those machines 
of the dominant machine, like opposed political parties which are nonetheless 
the same? Could this mean that desire is condemned to a pure explosion with- 
out consequence, or to perpetual betrayal? One last question: can there ever be 
such a thing as a collective and lasting expression of liberated desire at some 
point in history? If so, how? 

Gilles Deleuze: If we knew the answer to that, we wouldn't be discussing it, we 
would just go out and do it. Still, like Felix said, revolutionary organization 
must be the organization of a war-machine and not of a State apparatus, the 
organization of an analyzer and not of an external synthesis. In every social sys- 



tern, you will always find lines of escape, as well as sticking points to cut off 
these escapes, or else (which is not the same thing) embryonic apparatuses to 
recuperate them, to reroute and stop them, in a new system waiting to strike. 
I would like to see the crusades analyzed from this perspective. But in every 
respect, capitalism has a very particular character: its lines of escape are not 
just difficulties that arise, they are the very conditions of its operation. Capi- 
talism is founded on a generalized decoding of every flow: flows of wealth, 
flows of labor, flows of language, flows of art, etc. It did not create any code, 
it created a kind of accounting, an axiomatics of decoded flows, as the basis 
of its economy. It ligatures the points of escape and moves ahead. It is always 
expanding its own borders, and always finds itself in a situation where it must 
close off new escape routes at its borders, pushing them back once more. It 
has resolved none of its fundamental problems. It can't even foresee the mon- 
etary increase in a country over a year. It is endlessly crossing its own limits 
which keep reappearing farther out. It puts itself in alarming situations with 
respect to its own production, its social life, its demographics, its periphery in 
the Third World, its interior regions, etc. The system is leaking all over the 
place. They spring from the constantly displaced limits of the system. And 
certainly, the revolutionary escape (the active escape, which Jackson invokes 
when he says: "I've never stopped fleeing, but as I flee, I'm looking for a 
weapon")' is not the same thing as other kinds of escape, the schizo-escape, 
the drug-escape. This is precisely the problem facing marginal groups: to 
make all the lines of escape connect up on a revolutionary plane. In capital- 
ism, then, these lines of escape take on a new character, and a new kind of 
revolutionary potential. So, you see, there is hope. 

Actuel: You mentioned the crusades just now. Do you see the crusades as one 
of the first manifestations of collective schizophrenia in the West? 

Felix Guattari: The crusades were indeed an extraordinary schizophrenic 
movement. Suddenly, thousands and thousands of people, during a period 
that was already divided and troubled, were totally fed up with their life; 
spontaneous preaching rose up everywhere, and whole villages of men set 
out. It is only afterwards that a frightened papacy tried to give this move- 
ment direction by leading it off to the Holy Land. This strategy had two 
advantages: it gets rid of the wandering gangs, and it shores up the Christian 
outposts threatened by the Turks in the Near-East. It didn't always work: the 
Venetian Crusade wound up in Constantinople, and the Children's Crusade 
veered off to the South of France and quickly lost any sympathy people had 
for it. Entire villages were captured and burned by these "crusading" chil- 
dren, whom the regular armies finally had to round up, either killing them 
or selling them into slavery... 



Actuel: Do you see any parallel here with contemporary movements, such as the 
road, or hippy colonies, fleeing the factory and the office? Is there a pope to co- 
opt them? The Jesus-revolution? 

Felix Guattari: A recuperation by Christianity is not out of the question. It's 
already a reality, to a certain extent, in the United States though much less so here 
in France or Europe. But you can see a latent recuperation beneath the naturist 
movement, the idea that we could withdraw from production and reconstitute a 
small society out of the way, as though we weren't all branded and corralled by 
the capitalist system. 

Actuel: What role can still be attributed to the Church in a country like ours? 
The Church was at the center of power in Western society well into the eigh- 
teenth-century; it bound and structured the social machine before the 
nation-State emerged. The technocracy has deprived it today of its old function, 
so the Church, too, appears adrift, a rudderless ship divided against itself. One 
can ask whether the Church, pressured by currents of progressive Catholicism, is 
not becoming less confessional than certain political organizations. 

Felix Guattari: What about ecumenism? Is that not the Church's way of landing 
on its feet? The Church has never been stronger. I don't see any reason to oppose 
the Church to technocracy; the Church has its own technocracy. Historically 
speaking, Christianity and positivism have always gotten along quite well togeth- 
er. There is a Christian motor behind the development of the positive sciences. 
And you can't really claim that the psychiatrist replaced the priest, nor that the 
cop replaced him. Everyone is needed in repression! What has become outdated 
in the Church is its ideology, not its organization of power. 

Actuel: Let's address this other aspect of your book: the critique of psychiatry. 
Can one say that France is already under surveillance by psychiatry at the local 
level? And just how far does this influence extend? 

Felix Guattari: Psychiatric hospitals are essentially structured like a state bureau- 
cracy, and psychiatrists are bureaucrats. For a long time the State had been 
satisfied with a politics of coercion and did nothing for almost a century. It was 
only after the Liberation that any signs of anxiety appeared: the first psychiatric 
revolution, the opening of the hospitals, free treatment, institutional psy- 
chotherapy, etc. This led to the great Utopian politics of "localized" care: limiting 
the number of internments, and sending teams of psychiatrists out into the pop- 
ulation like missionaries into the bush. But not enough people believed in the 
reform, and without the will to carry it out, it got bogged down. Now you have 
a few model services for official visits, and a few hospitals here and there in the 



more underdeveloped regions. Still, we're headed for a major crisis, on the scale 
of the university crisis, a disaster at every level: equipment, personnel training, 
therapy, etc. 

The institutional surveillance of children has been, on the whole, undertak- 
en with greater success. In this case, the initiative escaped State structure and 
financing, falling instead under diverse associations, such as childhood protec- 
tion agencies or parental associations... Because they were subsidized by social 
security, the establishments proliferated. The child is immediately taken in 
charge by a network of psychiatrists, tagged at an early age, and followed for life. 
One can expect solutions of this type for adult psychiatry. Faced with the current 
impasse, the State will try to denationalize institutions and replace them with 
institutions governed by the law of 1901 and most certainly manipulated by 
political powers and reactionary family groups. We're indeed headed toward the 
psychiatric surveillance of France, if the present crisis doesn't liberate its revolu- 
tionary potentials. The most conservative ideology is spreading everywhere, an 
insipid transposition of the most Oedipal concepts. In the children's wards, they 
call the director "uncle," and the nurse "mother." I have even heard things like: 
game groups follow a maternal principle, and workshops a paternal principle. 
The psychiatry of surveillance looks progressive because it opens up the hospital. 
But if that implies a surveillance of the neighborhood, we will quickly come to 
regret the closed asylums of yesterday. It's like psychoanalysis: it functions 
beyond the confines of walls, but it's much worse as a repressive force, it's much 
more dangerous. 

Gilles Deleuze: Here is a case. A woman comes in for a consultation, explaining 
that she's taking tranquilizers. She asks for a glass of water. Then she says: "You 
see, I'm a cultured woman, I've done graduate work, I love to read, and all of a 
sudden I can't stop crying. I can't stand the subway... And then I start crying as 
soon as I read anything... I watch TV, I see those images from Vietnam: I can't 
stand it." The doctor doesn't say too much. The woman continues: "I've been 
working a little for the Resistance: I act as a mail-box." The doctor asks her to 
explain. "Of course, I'm sorry, you don't understand, do you? I go into a cafe and 
ask: is there anything for Rene? Then they give me a letter to send." When the 
doctor hears 'Rene,' he wakes up: "Why did you say 'Rene'?" This is the first time 
he has asked a question. Up to this point, she has been talking about the subway, 
Hiroshima, Vietnam, and the effect it has on her, on her body, how it makes her 
feel like crying. But the doctor only says: "Well, well, 'Rene.' What does 'Rene' 
mean to you?" The name 'Rene' implies someone who is reborn [re-ne\. A renais- 
sance. Resistance? — forget about it, he passes that over in silence. But 
renaissance, that fits the universal schema, the archetype: "You want to be 
reborn," he says. The doctor has found his bearings: at last he's on track. And he 
forces her to talk about her mother and her father. This is an essential aspect of 


mm A f 

our book, and it's totally concrete. Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts have never 
paid attention to delirium. All you have to do is listen to someone in a state of 
delirium: the Russians worry him, and the Chinese; I've got no saliva left, I was 
sodomized in the subway, there are microbes and spermatozoa everywhere; it's 
Franco's fault, the Jews' fault, the Maoists' fault. Their delirium covers the whole 
social field. Why couldn't this be about the sexuality of a subject, the relation it 
has to the idea of Chinese, Whites, Blacks? Or to whole civilizations, the cru- 
sades, the subway? Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts have never heard a word of 
it, and they're on the defensive because they're position is indefensible. They 
crush the contents of the unconscious with pre-fabricated statements like: "You 
keep saying Chinese, but what about your father? — He's not Chinese. — So your 
lover is Chinese?" It's like the repressive work by the judge in the Angela Davis 
case, who assured us: "Her behavior is explicable only by the fact that she was in 
love." But what if, on the contrary, Angela Davis's libido was a revolutionary, 
social libido? What if she was in love because she was a revolutionary? 

This is what we want to tell psychiatrists and psychoanalysts: you have no 
idea what delirium is; you've got it all wrong. The sense of our book is this: 
we've reached a stage where many people feel that the psychoanalytic machine 
no longer works, and a whole generation is beginning to have had it with all- 
purpose schemas: Oedipus and castration, the imaginary and the symbolic 
— they systematically efface the social, political, and cultural content from 
every psychic disturbance. 

Actuel: Your association of capitalism with schizophrenia is the very foundation 
of your book. Are there cases of schizophrenia in other societies? 

Felix Guattari: Schizophrenia is indissociable from the capitalist system, which 
is originally conceived as an escape, a leak: an exclusive illness. In other societies, 
escape and marginality exhibit other aspects. The asocial individual of so-called 
primitive societies is not locked up; prisons and asylums are recent notions. 
They're chased away or exiled on the margin of the village and die there, unless 
they can be integrated into a neighboring village. Each system, moreover, has its 
own particular illness: the hysteria of so-called primitive societies, the paranoid- 
depressives of great Empires... The capitalist economy functions through 
decoding and deterritorialization: it has its extreme illnesses, that is, its schizo- 
phrenics who come uncoded and become deterritorialized to the extreme, but it 
also has its extreme consequences, its revolutionaries. 

Five Propositions on Psychoanalysis 1 

I would like to present five propositions on psychoanalysis. The first is this: psy- 
choanalysis today presents a political danger all of its own that is different from 
the implicit dangers of the old psychiatric hospital. The latter constitutes a place 
of localized captivity; psychoanalysis, on the other hand, works in the open air. 
The psychoanalyst has in a sense the same position that Marx accorded to the 
merchant in feudal society: working in the open pores of society, not only in pri- 
vate offices, but also in schools, institutions, departmentalism, etc. This function 
puts us in a unique position with respect to the psychoanalytic project. We rec- 
ognize that psychoanalysis tells us a great deal about the unconscious; but, in a 
certain way, it does so only to reduce the unconscious, to destroy it, to repulse it, 
to imagine it as a sort of parasite on consciousness. For psychoanalysis, it is fair 
to say there are always too many desires. The Freudian conception of the child 
as polymorphous pervert shows that there are always too many desires. In our 
view, however, there are never enough desires. We do not, by one method or 
another, wish to reduce the unconscious: we prefer to produce it: there is no 
unconscious that is already there; the unconscious must be produced politically, 
socially, and historically. The question is: in what place, in what circumstances, 
in the shadow of what events, can the unconscious be produced. Producing the 
unconscious means very precisely the production of desire in a historical social 
milieu or the appearance of statements and expressions of a new kind. 

My second proposition is that psychoanalysis is a complete machine, 
designed in advance to prevent people from talking, therefore from producing 
statements that suit them and the groups with which they have certain affinities. 
As soon as one begins analysis, one has the impression of talking. But one talks 
in vain; the entire psychoanalytical machine exists to suppress the conditions of 
a real expression. Whatever one says is taken into a sort of tourniquet, an inter- 
pretive machine; the patient will never be able to get to what he really has to say. 



Desire or delirium (which are in a deep sense the same thing), desire-delirium is 
by its nature a libidinal investment of an entire historical milieu, of an entire 
social environment. What makes one delirious are classes, peoples, races, masses, 
mobs. Psychoanalysis, possessed of a pre-existing code, superintends a sort of 
destruction. This code consists of Oedipus, castration, the family romance; the 
most secret content of delirium, i.e. this divergence from the social and histori- 
cal milieu, will be destroyed so that no delirious statement, corresponding to an 
overflow in the unconscious, will be able to get through the analytical machine. 
We say that the schizophrenic has to deal not with his family, nor with his par- 
ents, but with peoples, populations, and tribes. We say that the unconscious is 
not a matter of generations or family genealogy, but rather of world population, 
and that the psychoanalytical machine destroys all this. I will cite just two exam- 
ples: the celebrated example of President Schreber whose delirium is entirely 
about races, history, and wars. Freud doesn't realize this and reduces the patient's 
delirium exclusively to his relationship with his father. Another example is the 
Wolfman: when the Wolfman dreams of six or seven wolves, which is by defini- 
tion a pack, i.e. a certain kind of group, Freud immediately reduces this 
multiplicity by bringing everything back to a single wolf who is necessarily the 
father. The entire collective libidinal expression manifested in the delirium of the 
Wolfman will be unable to make, let alone conceive of the statements that are for 
him the most meaningful. 

My third proposition is that psychoanalysis works in this way because of its 
automatic interpretation machine. This interpretation machine can be described 
in the following way: whatever you say, you mean something different. We can't 
say enough about the damage these machines cause. When someone explains to 
me that what I say means something other than what I say, a split in the ego as 
subject is produced. This split is well known: what I say refers to me as the sub- 
ject of an utterance or statement, what I mean refers to me as an expressing 
subject. This split is conjured by psychoanalysis as the basis for castration and 
prevents all production of statements. For example, in certain schools for prob- 
lem children, dealing with character or even psychopathology, the child, in his 
work or play activities, is placed in a relationship with his educator, and in this 
context the child is understood as the subject of an utterance or statement; in his 
psychotherapy, he is put into a relationship with the analyst or the therapist, and 
there he is understood as an expressing subject. Whatever he does in the group 
in terms of his work and his play will be compared to a superior authority, that 
of the psychotherapist who alone will have the job of interpreting, such that the 
child himself is split; he cannot win acceptance for any statement about what 
really matters to him in his relationship or in his group. He will feel like he's talk- 
ing, but he will not be able to say a single word about what's most essential to 
him. Indeed, what produces statements in each one of us is not ego as subject, 
it's something entirely different: multiplicities, masses and mobs, peoples and 



tribes, collective arrangements; they cross through us, they are within us, and 
they seem unfamiliar because they are part of our unconscious. The challenge for 
a real psychoanalysis, an anti-psychoanalytical analysis, is to discover these col- 
lective arrangements of expression, these collective networks, these peoples who 
are in us and who make us speak, and who are the source of our statements. This 
is the sense in which we set a whole field of experimentation, of personal or 
group experimentation, against the interpretive activities of psychoanalysis. 

My fourth proposition, to be quick, is that psychoanalysis implies a fairly 
peculiar power structure. The recent book by Castel, Le Psychanalysme, demon- 
strates this point very well. The power structure occurs in the contract, a 
formidable liberal bourgeois institution. It leads to "transference" and culminates 
in the analyst's silence. And the analyst's silence is the greatest and the worst of 
interpretations. Psychoanalysis uses a small number of collective statements, 
which are those of capitalism itself regarding castration, loss, and family, and it 
tries to get this small number of collective statements specific to capitalism to 
enter into the individual statements of the patients themselves. We claim that 
one should do just the opposite, that is, start with the real individual statements, 
give people conditions, including the material conditions, for the production of 
their individual statements, in order to discover the real collective arrangements 
that produce them. 

My last proposition is that, for our part, we prefer not to participate in any 
effort consistent with a Freudo-Marxist perspective. And this for two reasons. 
The first is that, in the end, a Freudo-Marxist effort proceeds in general from a 
return to origins, or more specifically to the sacred texts: the sacred texts of 
Freud, the sacred texts of Marx. Our point of departure must be completely dif- 
ferent: we refer not to sacred texts that must be, to a greater or lesser extent, 
interpreted, but to the situation as is, the situation of the bureaucratic apparatus 
in psychoanalysis, which is an effort to subvert these apparatuses. Marxism and 
Psychoanalysis, in two different ways, speak in the name of a kind of memory, of 
a culture of memory, and also speak in two different ways in the name of the 
requirements of a development. We believe on the contrary that one must speak 
in the name of a positive force of forgetting, in the name of what is for each indi- 
vidual his own underdevelopment, what David Cooper aptly calls our inner third 
world. Secondly, what separates us from any Freudo-Marxist effort is that such 
projects seek primarily to reconcile two economies: political economy and libid- 
inal or desiring economy. In Reich, too, we find the observance of this duality of 
this effort at reconciliation. 

Our point of view is on the contrary that there is but one economy and that 
the problem of a real anti-psychoanalytical analysis is to show how unconscious 
desire invests the forms of this economy. It is economy itself that is political 
economy and desiring economy. 




A participant asks a question about memory in Freudo-Marxism and the positive 
force of forgetting. 

In spite of my inckation not to go back to the texts, I think of two remark- 
able texts by Nietzsche that make a distinction between forgetting as a force of 
inertia and forgetting as an active force. Forgetting as an active force is the power 
to finish with something to one's satisfaction. In this case, it is opposed to a med- 
itation on the past that binds us, on that which binds us to the past, even to 
develop it, even to take it further. If one therefore distinguishes two forms of for- 
getting, of which one is a sort of reactive inertia and the other a force of positive 
forgetting, it is obvious that the revolutionary forgetting, the forgetting that I 
was thinking of is the second forgetting: only it consititutes a real activity or one 
that can be part of real political activities. In much the same way, a revolution- 
ary breaks free by forgetting and remains unmoved by the reproach his critics 
constantly make: "It has existed, therefore it will always exist." 

Revolutionary forgetting can be tied to another common theme, that of an 
active escape that is itself opposed to a passive escape of an entirely different kind. 
When, for example, Jackson, in his prison, says, "yes, I can very well escape, but 
during my escape, I'm looking for a weapon," this is active revolutionary escape 
as opposed to other escapes that are capitalist or personal, etc. 

A participant asks for a clarification of the notion of forgetting with respect to the 
relationship between Freudianism and Marxism. 

In Marxism, a certain culture of memory appeared right at the beginning; 
even revolutionary activity was supposed to proceed to this capitalization of the 
memory of social formations. It is, if one prefers, Marx's Hegelian aspect, included 
in Das Kapital. In psychoanalysis, the culture of memory is even more apparent. 
Moreover, Marxism, like psychoanalysis, is shot through with a certain ideology 
of development: psychic development from a psychoanalytic point of view of 
psychoanalysis, social development or even the development of production from 
a Marxist point of view. Before, for example, in certain forms of rhe worker's 
struggle in the 19th century that Marxism crushed right from the start (I'm not 
thinking only of the Utopians), the call to struggle was, on the contrary, made 
on the basis of the need to forget, of an active force of forgetting: no culture of 
remembering, no culture of the past, but a call to forgetting as the condition of 
experimentation. Today, in certain American groups, no one considers a return 
to Freud or Marx; here again is a sort of culture of forgetting as the condition of 
any new experimentation. The use of forgetting as an active force, in order to go 
back to zero, in order to get away from the academic heavy-handedness that has 



left so dark a stamp on Freudo-Marxism, is something very important in practi- 
cal terms. Whereas bourgeois culture has always spoken from within its 
development and in the name of the development that it asks us to pursue and 
perpetuate, today's counter-culture reclaims the idea that, if we have something 
to say, it's not according to our development, whatever that may be, but accord- 
ing to our underdevelopment. Revolution has nothing to do with an attempt to 
inscribe oneself in a movement of development and in the capitalization of mem- 
ory, but in the preservation of the force of forgetting and the force of 
underdevelopment as properly revolutionary forces. 

A participant (G. Jervis) points out a difference of content between the Five Propo- 
sitions and Anti-CEdipus, for example, the disappearance of the notion of 
"schizo- analysis "in favor of that of an "anti- psycho analytical analysis " and he notes a 
distinct evolution: there is no longer an effort to critique CEdipus, but rather psycho- 
analysis. What is the reason for this evolution? 

What Jervis says is perfectly true. Neither Guattari nor myself are very 
attached to the pursuit or even the coherence of what we write. We would hope 
for the contrary, we would hope that the follow-up to Anti-CEdipus breaks with 
what preceded it, with the first volume, and then, if there are things that don't 
work in the first volume, it doesn't matter. I mean that we are not among those 
authors who think of what they write as a whole that must be coherent; if we 
change, fine, so there's no point in talking to us about the past. But Jervis says 
two things that are important: at present we do not attack CEdipus so much as 
the institution, the psychoanalytical machine in its entirety. It goes without say- 
ing that the psychoanalytical machine comprises dimensions beyond CEdipus, 
and consequently we have reasons to believe that this is no longer the essential 
problem. Jervis adds that the reason is the direction of our present work is more 
political, and that this morning we have also renounced the use of the term 
'schizo-analysis.' I would like to make several remarks on this point, in the most 
modest fashion possible. When a term is introduced and has the least bit success, 
as has been the case for "desiring-machine" or "schizo-analysis," either one cir- 
culates it, which is already rather pernicious, a sort of co-optation, or one 
renounces it and seeks other terms to upset the order. There are words that Felix 
and I now feel it urgent not to use: 'schizo-analysis,' 'desiring-machine' — it's 
awful, if we use them, we're caught in the trap. We don't know very well what 
they mean, we no longer believe in the words; when we use a word, we want to 
say, if this word doesn't agree with you, find another, there's always a way. Words 
are totally interchangeable. As for the content of what we do, it's true that the 
first volume of Anti-CEdipus was devoted to establishing certain kinds of duali- 
ties. There was, for example, a duality between paranoia and schizophrenia, and 
we felt we had discovered a duality of systems: a paranoiac system and a schizo- 



phrenic system. Or the duality we tried to establish between the molar and the 
molecular. We had to go that route. I'm not saying that we've gone beyond all 
that, but it no longer interests us. At present, what we would like to try to show 
is how one is grounded in the other, that the one is tied to the other. In other 
words, how the little outbreaks of schizophrenia ultimately organize themselves 
at the heart of vast paranoiac orders. There are sometimes surprising examples in 
politics. I'll take the very recent example of what's happening in America: there 
is the Vietnam War, which is immense, and represents the setting in motion of a 
gigantic paranoiac machine, the famous military industrial complex, an entire 
system of signs, political programs, and economic programs. Everyone says, 
"bravo," except a small number, every country says, "very well," and no one is 
outraged. No one is outraged, except for a small number of individuals 
denounced as leftists. Then, all of sudden there's a minor incident, no big deal, 
a matter of spying, theft, of police and psychiatry, between one American polit- 
ical party and another. Suddenly, there is an outbreak, an escape, a leak. And all 
the good people who accept the war in Vietnam, who accept this large paranoiac 
machine, are beginning to say "The president of the United States is no longer 
following the rules of the game." A little schizophrenic outbreak has grafted itself 
onto the large psychoanalytical system, the newspapers are losing their minds or 
seem to be losing them. Why not the stock quotes from the market? What real- 
ly matters to us are the escape routes in the systems, the conditions under which 
these paths form or incite revolutionary actions, or remain anecdotal. Revolu- 
tionary probabilities do not consist in the contradictions of the capitalist system, 
but rather in efforts at escape — always unexpected, always renewed — that under- 
mine it. We have been criticized for using the word schizo-analysis, for confusing 
the schizophrenic and the revolutionary. And yet we were extremely careful to 
distinguish them. 

A system like capitalism escapes in every direction; it escapes, and then cap- 
italism fills in the gaps, it ties knots, it establishes links to prevent the escapes 
from being too numerous. A scandal here, an escape of capital there, etc. And 
there are also escapes of another sort: there are communities, those on the mar- 
gin, the delinquents, the addicts, the escapes of drug addicts, escapes of all kinds, 
there are schizophrenic escapes, there are people who escape in a very different 
way. Our problem (we are not completely stupid, we are not saying that this 
would be sufficient for a revolution) is as follows: given a system that escapes in 
every direction and that, at the same time, continually prevents, represses, or 
blocks escape-routes by every available means, what can we do so that these 
escapes may no longer be individual attempts or small communities, but may 
instead truly constitute a revolutionary machine? And for what reason, until 
now, have revolutions gone so badly? There is no revolution without a central, 
centralizing war-machine. You can't brawl, and you don't fight with your fists: 
there must be a war-machine that organizes and unites. But until now, there has- 



n't existed in the revolutionary field a machine that didn't reproduce something 
else: a state apparatus, the very institution of repression. Hence the problem of 
revolution: how can a war-machine account for all the escapes that happen in the 
present system without crushing them, dismantling them, and without repro- 
ducing a state apparatus? So when Jervis says that our discussion is getting more 
and more political, I think he's right, because as much as we insisted, in the first 
part of our work, on large dualities, today we're looking for the new mode of uni- 
fication in which, for example, the schizophrenic discourse, the intoxicated 
discourse, the perverted discourse, the homosexual discourse, all the marginal 
discourses can subsist, so that all these escapes and discourses can graft them- 
selves onto a war-machine that won't reproduce a State or Party Apparatus. For 
that very reason we no longer want to talk about schizoanalysis, because that 
would amount to protecting a particular type of escape, schizophrenic escape. 
What interests us is a sort of link that leads us back to the direct political prob- 
lem, and the direct political problem for us is more or less this: until now, 
revolutionary parties have constituted themselves as syntheses of interests rather 
than functioning as analyzers of mass and individual desires. Or else, what 
amounts to the same: revolutionary parties have constituted themselves as 
embryonic State apparatuses, instead of forming war-machines irreducible to 
such apparatuses. 


Faces and Surfaces 

Stefan Czerkinsky: Me, a painter? I'm no painter. And we're not going to do a 
preface either. We'll do some surfaces, not a presentation. Slip-slide. You do the 
drawings. I'll do the bits of writing. No trading places, no exchanging anything, 
it's no exchange, not at all... 

Gilles Deleuze: Oh awright. I've got the drawings... here. 2 The worse they are, 
the better they work. Look, they're surface-monsters. Like brownish-violet, and 
every surface color. How does violet work? 

Stefan Czerkinsky: How does therrory work? How does a surface-monster work? 

Gilles Deleuze: Therrory is violet. Therrory is painting-desire-writing using many 
other things, too, on the borders, in the corners, at the centers, and elsewhere. It's 
that oscillating movement: the Flow Flux Klan, a.k.a. "the great thought-racket" 
and its organ-members "the concept squatters." This is its program: 

First, the support-free construction of therrotherapy in conjunction with the 
active destruction of the illnesses of our day: psychopomp, hypochondiaches, 
schizophaguses, gonorphrenia, neurotosis, neurotyphus, mortems, sexosis, phan- 
tasmologists, scatatonics, etc. And the worst of all: glorifying depression. 

Second, the production of campaigns and slogans like: 

"More of the unconscious, produce more, still more, and more after that." 

"Nothing to interpret." 

"It's all good, but really." 

"Make every French citizen carry a visa and a work permit, accompanied by 
regular police shakedowns." 

"Of two movements, the more deterritorialized prevails over the less 



"Of fifty movements, the most detetritorialized wins." 

What we call the most detertitorialized movement is the delirious vector. It's 
violet. The unconscious is violet, or it will be. 

Stefan Czerkinsky: What precautions should be taken when producing a concept? 

Gilles Deleuze: You put your blinker on, and check in your rearview mirror to 
make sure another concept isn't coming up behind you; once you've taken these 
precautions, you produce the concept.' What are the precautions to be taken 
when moving from one theoretical field to another? 

Stefan Czerkinsky: Nothing is simpler. You arm yourself with a concept carrying 
case in leatherette. You take a canvas that you yourself will boldly prime, in other 
words, a canvas without primer. You sandwich it between the two pieces of a 
wooden frame, which has been sawed in such a way that it attaches to both sides 
of the canvas. So the frame is a raised border on either side, forming two basins. 
First you paint on one side, according to the directions (vectors) you've chosen, 
for example, beginning from the corners, like the cardinal points: e.g., you paint 
North-East, North-South, South-East, North-West, etc. Paint with red or blue, 
or with red and blue, either mixed off the canvas, or mixed on the canvas, espe- 
cially if you want to produce different shades of brown or violet. Next you go 
around the back to see what happened on the other side, since the color has dif- 
fused through the unprimed (non-occluded) canvas. You may or may not choose 
to keep an eye on the diffusion with a mirror placed behind the canvas. Now you 
paint the other side, using a different brush, with strokes in other directions and 
corners. You can also rotate the canvas, or change its situation: suspend it, put it 
on the wall, on the floor, etc. 

Incessant diffusion from one side to the other. Each side modifies the other: 
red, blue, blue-red / red-blue, etc., giving rise to different shades of violet (and 
negative brown). Each side penetrates the other: violet is PENETRAY country, 
where you become the color-diffuser, the side-switcher, the time-passer: the 
painter or the painting, the nomad. 

This is how you get deterritorialized movements of color, and many other 
things beside, and thus you produce intensities. You have traveled around some- 
thing that has no thickness. 

I forgot to mention: get a canvas that is much larger than the frame, so you 
have a border, a margin that is at least two feet wide. This margin has several roles 
to play: 

First, a zone of overproduction; second, an instance of anti-production; 
third, the body-canvas distance; fourth, reciprocal smudges and blots: who is 
painting and who is being painted? (The margin will become smudged and blot- 
ted in diverse ways, according to the kind of work being done, the colors 



employed, the positions of the canvas, and the vectors you've chosen. Your body 
will become smudged and blotted, too. In a way, it is also a margin.); fifth, tram- 
plings and walks; it's a threshold for the painter, the canvas, and the visitor alike. 
It sometimes happens that an infinitesimal part of the canvas will remain 
unpainted, forgotten; and sometimes you forget to forget. There's a hole. Think 
of the Vetuda of the Italian Renaissance, that's not it. Think of the Navajo 
women who never completely finish a tapestry: they leave a hole, they say, 
because they sink all their heart into the work, and they don't want their heart to 
be entangled in perfection. That's still not it. Or we say that the hole circulating 
on the canvas is a reality that opens on another reality, but that's just metaphysics 
and possible-worlds. 

Gilles Deleuze: What it is is an interior border that echoes the exterior borders. 
Together they make up the difference of intensity between which everything 
happens and communicates: neglecting the margin and forgetting the hole; and 
thus they echo one another. Forgetting to paint, neglecting to paint, the canvas 
between inside-outside, a canvas-drum, heard as a sign of painting, an a-signify- 
ing sign. The hole-border is physical reality. It is Reality. Oh, what beautiful 
things physicists are saying these days, concerning border-phenomena and hole- 
noumena. We would have to be scholars to understand it. Long live Pauli, long 
live Fermi. But we can't understand it. So what, that's even better, we'll do the 
same. The hole-particles and the border-particles are in motion. 4 

Stefan Czerkinsky: We're not finished. After you paint the canvases, you create a 
simple currency: from objects, verbs, gestures, materials, etc. Then you arbitrar- 
ily establish arbitrarily equivalent relationships between the canvases and the 
stuff you will use as money. - 

For example, I'll make a few objects or utensils: wood in cotton, like a baby 
doll; add metal ligatures to make cloth hands; add blue metallic plastic, beveled 
and split; stuff hair in the splits, cement it with clay: some of them are pretty big, 
and others really small. I put them all in a suitcase, a metal lunchbox, and take 
them to some kids playing in a public garden. They always get a kick out of 
them. The series and different sizes make them laugh. So then I arrange all the 
little family-money-objects in relation to the violet canvases. They are fetishes or 
key-holders for the canvas-holders, the canvas-tents, the canvas-icons. Now it 
makes a large circuit. You have the restricted circuit: frame-canvas-border-hole; 
and you have the larger circuit: its equivalence with another system of signs, i.e. 
the little object-utensils. Ideally, you would pay for the canvases with the little 
objects, and make the little objects with the canvases. You would have to steal one 
or the other or both at once. The question can be asked: Were my utensils and 
my canvases nothing but money all along? That's what's terrible: the virtuality of 


Preface to Hocqueng hem's 
L 'Apres-Mai des faunes A 

The Preface. No one escapes it. Not the author, not the publisher, not the pref- 
ace writer, who is the real victim. There is no need for a preface. This 'gay' book 
could also have been called: How the existence of homosexuality came to be 
doubted; or, no one can say "I am homosexual." Signed, Hocquenghem. How 
did he arrive at this? Was it a personal evolution, traceable in the succession and 
the many tones of the texts collected here? Was it a collective evolution in con- 
nection with a group-undertaking, a becoming of FHAR? It goes without saying 
that it is not due to a change such as becoming heterosexual, that Hocquenghem 
has come to doubt the validity of certain notions and declarations. It is only by 
remaining homosexual forever, remaining and being homosexual more and more, 
being a better and better homosexual, that one can say "well, no one is really 
homosexual." Which is a thousand times better than the hackneyed, insipid idea 
that everyone is homosexual or will be: we're all unconscious latent queers. Hoc- 
quenghem does not use the term evolution, nor even revolution, but volutions. 
Imagine an extremely mobile spiral: Hocquenghem is there on several levels 
simultaneously, on several turns at once: sometimes with a motorcycle, some- 
times high out of his mind, sometimes sodomized or sodomizing, and sometimes 
in drag. On one level, he can say: yes, I'm a homosexual; on another level: no, 
that's not it; and on another level, it is something else altogether. This current 
book does not repeat his former work, Homosexual Desire; 2 it has a completely 
different organization and mobilization. It's a total transformation. 

First volution: in opposition to psychoanalysis, against psychoanalytic 
reductions and interpretations. In principle, Hocquenghem is not opposed to 
homosexuality as a relationship with father, mother, and Oedipus; he even 
writes a letter to mother. But it doesn't work. Psychoanalysis has never been able 
to tolerate desire. It has to reduce desire, make it say something else. Some of 
the more ridiculous pages Freud ever wrote are those on "fellatio": such a bizarre 



and "shocking" desire can have no worth of its own; it must be traceable to a 
cow udder, and from there to the mother's breast. Freud thinks we would get 
more pleasure sucking on a cow udder. Interpret, regress, push toward regres- 
sion. It just makes Hocquenghem laugh. Who knows, maybe there is such a 
thing as Oedipal homosexuality, a mommy-homosexuality, guilt, paranoia, 
whatever. But precisely, the whole interpretation sinks like a lead balloon, 
weighed down by what it hides, and by what the family counselor and psycho- 
analyst would keep out of sight: it falls off the spiral, it fails the test of lightness 
and mobility. Hocquenghem instead posits the specificity and the irreducibility 
of a homosexual desire, a flow without origin or goal, a matter of experimenta- 
tion and not interpretation. It is not the past but the present that determines 
whether one is homosexual, once we admit that childhood was already a pres- 
ence that did not refer to a past. Because desire never represents anything, and 
it doesn't refer back to something waiting in the wings of the familial or per- 
sonal theatre. Desire makes connections, it assembles, it machines. E.g. 
Hocquenghem's beautiful text on the motorcycle: the motorcycle is another sex. 
Perhaps the homosexual does not stay with the same sex, but discovers innu- 
merable sexes. But first Hocqenghem attempts to define this irreducible, specific 
homosexual desire — not through a regressive inferiority, but through an Out- 
side, a relationship with the Outside, whose characteristics are present: the 
particular movement of cruising, the mode of encounter, the "anular" structure, 
the mobility and exchangeability of roles, and a particular betrayal (plotting 
against one's own class, as Klossowski says?: "They told us we were men, they 
treat us like women; yes, toward our enemies, we are treacherous, underhand- 
ed, and show bad faith: yes, we can quit on you in any social situation, at any 
moment, we are unreliable and proud of it!") 

Second volution: Homosexuality does not produce desire without at the 
same time formulating utterances. Because producing desire and formulating 
new utterances are the same thing. Of course, Hocquenghem does not sound like 
Gide, or Proust, even less like Peyrefitte: but style is politics — so are generational 
differences, and the different ways of saying "I" (cf the world of difference 
between Burroughs the father and Burroughs the son, when they say "I" and talk 
about drugs). A new style, a new politics. This is the importance of Tony Duvert 
today: a new tone. Homosexuality today produces its utterances from within a 
new style, and these utterances do not and must not revolve around homosexu- 
ality itself. Were it simply a question of saying "every man is a queer," it would 
be totally devoid of interest. Such a lame proposition amuses only fools. But the 
marginal position of homosexuality makes it possible, and necessary, for it to 
have something to say about what is not homosexuality: "the entire gamut of 
human sexual problems first appeared when the homosexual movements began." 
For Hocquenghem, the utterances of homosexuality are of two sorts. First, about 
sexuality in general: far from being phallocentric, the homosexual denounces the 



same phenomenon in the submission of women and in the tepression of homo- 
sexuality. This phenomenon is constitutive of phallocentrism, which operates 
indirectly as the heterosexual model of our society. Phallocentrism forces the sex- 
uality of boys on girls, to whom it assigns the role of playing seductress and 
seduced. From that point on, whether there exists a mysterious complicity 
among girls who prefer girls, or boys who prefer boys, or boys who prefer motor- 
cycles to girls, or girls who, etc., the important thing is not to introduce any 
pseudo-signifier or symbolic relation into these plots and complicities ("a move- 
ment like FHAR appears to have intimate ties with ecological movements... even 
if this is inexpressible in the logic of politics"). The second sort of utterance is com- 
plimentary to the first; it deals with the social field in general and the presence 
of sexuality in the social field as a whole: homosexuality enacts a micro-politics 
of desire by escaping the heterosexual model, by escaping both the localization 
of this model in a type of relationship and its diffusion in every sector of society. 
Homosexuality is thus able to reveal or detect the whole array of power relations 
to which society submits sexuality (including the case of the more or less latent 
homosexuality that is diffused throughout virile military or fascist groups). Pre- 
cisely, homosexuality is liberational not by disrupting all power relations, but 
when as a marginal phenomenon, it has no social utility: "society fails from the 
outset to inscribe its power relations in homosexuality, such that the roles man- 
woman, active-passive, master-slave, are unstable and reversible at every moment 
in homosexuality." 

Third volution: we thought Hocquenghem was setting up on the margin, 
digging himself in. But what is this margin? And the specificity of homosexual 
desire, the counter-utterances of homosexuality? What are they? Another Hoc- 
quenghem, on a different level of the spiral, denounces homosexuality as a word. 
Homosexuality as nominalism. And in fact there is no power in words, only 
words in the service of power: language is not information or communication, 
but prescription, order, and command. You will be on the margin. It's the center 
that makes the margin. "The abstract division of desire allows for the regimen- 
tation of those who escape it, bringing within the law that which escapes the 
Law. The category in question, and the word itself, are relatively recent inven- 
tions. It is the growing imperialism of a society wanting to assign a social status 
to everything unclassifiable that created this particularization of inequality... 
Dividing the better to conquer, the pseudo-scientific thought of psychiatry has 
transformed barbarous intolerance into intolerance that is civilized." But here is 
where something strange happens: the less homosexuality is a state of affairs, and 
the more homosexuality is a mere word, the more it must be taken literally and 
its position be taken as specific, its utterances as irreducible, acting as if... Out of 
defiance. Almost from a sense of duty. A necessary dialectic moment. Passage and 
progress. We will act like queens because you want it. We will exceed your traps. 
We will take you at your word: "It is by making shame all the more shameful that 



we progress. We claim femininity for ourselves, that femininity which women 
reject, even as we declare these roles to be meaningless... We cannot escape the con- 
crete form of this struggle, which is homosexuality." Still another mask, still 
another betrayal. A Hegelian Hocquenghem is revealed: the necessary moment 
that must be passed through; a Marxist Hocquenghem, too: the queer as a pro- 
letariat of Eros ("it is precisely because he lives by accepting the most particular 
situation that what he thinks has universal value"). The reader is shocked. Is this 
a Hommage to dialectics, to the Ecole Normale Superieure? Is this Homo- 
Hegelian-Marxism? But Hocqenghem is already elsewhere, on another place in 
the spiral, saying what was in his head or his heart, and what cannot be separat- 
ed from a kind of evolution. Who among us has already killed Marx or Hegel 
within himself, and the infamous dialectic? 

Fourth volution, and the last dance for the time being, the last betrayal: we 
must follow the succession of Hocquenghem's texts, his position with respect to 
FHAR and, within FHAR as a specific group, the relation to MLF — the idea 
that the dispersal of groups is never tragic. Far from closing itself in on "the 
same," homosexuality is going to open itself up to all sorts of possible new rela- 
tions, micrological or micropsychic, essentially reversible, transversal relations, 
with as many sexes as there are assemblages, not even excluding new relations 
between men and women: the mobility of particular S&M relations, the poten- 
cy of cross-dressing, Fourier's thirty-six thousand forms of love, or the »-sexes 
(neither one nor two sexes). It is no longer about being a man or woman, but 
inventing sexes, such that a homosexual man can find in a woman those plea- 
sures which a man would give him and vice versa (to this exclusive homosexuality 
of the Same, Proust already opposed a more multiple and 'localized' homosexu- 
ality which includes all kinds of transsexual communications, such as flowers and 
bicycles). In a beautiful passage on cross-dressing, Hocquenghem talks about a 
transmutation from one order to another as though it were an intensive contin- 
uum of substances: "There is no intermediary between man and woman, or the 
universal mediator is one part of a world transferred into another as one moves 
from one universe to another, parallel to the first, or perpendicular, or diagonal; 
or rather it's a million displaced gestures, transferred characteristics, events..." Far 
from closing itself in on the identity of a sex, this homosexuality opens itself up 
to a loss of identity, to the "system actualizing non-exclusive connections of 
polyvocal desire." We see how the tone has changed at this precise point on the 
spiral: the homosexual is no longer demanding to be recognized, no longer takes 
himself to be a subject deprived of his rights (let us live in peace, after all, every- 
one's a little gay... homosexuality-demand, homosexuality-recognition, 
homosexuality of the same, Oedipal form, Arcadie style). The new homosexual 
is about being in such a way that he can finally say: nobody is homosexual, it 
doesn't exist. You treat us like homosexuals, OK, but we're already elsewhere. 
There is no more homosexual subject, but homosexual productions of desire, 



and homosexual assemblages that produce utterances, proliferating everywhere, 
e.g. S&M and cross-dressing, in sexual relations as well as in political struggles. 
There is no more angry, divided Gide-subject, nor even a Proust-subject feeling 
guilty, even less a pathetic Peyrefitte-Self. We understand better how Hoc- 
quenghem can be everywhere on the spiral and say all at once: homosexual desire 
is specific, there are homosexual utterances, but homosexuality is nothing, it's 
just a word, and yet let's take it literally, let's pass necessarily through it, to make 
it yield all the otherness it contains — and this otherness is not the unconscious 
of psychoanalysis, but the progression of a future sexual becoming. 


A Planter's Art 1 

The film's long opening shot to the music of Couperin. We see the camera 
move, stop in this particular decor, that particular spot, before this example of 

We see the director laugh, speak, point to something; the film crew works 
on a particular arrangement of elements. We fear this is just one more exam- 
ple of that way of introducing, into the film, the film in the making. Luckily, 
it isn't. The opening is not long at all. The camera's mobility in this film 
appears to be something new. It is a way of planting. Not burying the camera 
on its feet, but rapidly planting it, just below the surface of the soil or terrain, 
and then carrying it elsewhere to plant it over again. An art of rice: the camera 
is stabbed in the soil, then stabbed again, farther away, in a leap. No taking 
root, just stabs. In the film itself, the camera, the crew and the director will pop 
up suddenly right next to the couple making love: this is not a "literary" effect, 
nor a reflection of the film-making process in the film; rather, the camera is 
seen because it was planted here, stabbed there, to be immediately picked up 
and planted elsewhere. 

The film, everything which the film shows, follows this procedure without 
the least artifice. The film and its opening are the same mobile story in two 
modes. A son kills himself, and the father, as though unhinged, will pass 
through a series of metamorphoses: a sadistic small-time crook, a disturbing 
wise man, a nomadic walker, a young man in love. The actor who plays the 
father, Patrice Dally, displays a deep sobriety, an almost humble manner, which 
intensifies the violence of the metamorphoses. The pretext is a sort of inquiry 
into the son's death. The reality is the broken chain of metamorphoses, which 
operates not by transformation, but by leaps and bounds. One beautiful scene 
is with Roger Planchon, the wise man, jumping around a young woman, trying 
to persuade her of something in the Saint-Sulpice's square. With astonishing 



movements, Planchon repeatedly plants himself before her. Another is with 
Pierre Julien, the nervous sadist, who pulls the player in every direction, 
height, depth, length, carving up space as with a knife. 

It's like a story planted in Paris, not at all heavy and static, but with light 
stabs that correspond to each camera position. The story comes from else- 
where: it comes from South America, from the Santiago-Borges-Bioy Ceasres 
ensemble, bringing with it that power of metamorphosis which one finds in 
the novels of Asturias, and it emanates from other landscapes: the Savannah, 
the pampas, a fruit company, a field of corn or rice. The precise point at which 
the story is inserted or stuck in Paris is a small bookstore, "The Two Americ- 
as," the father's business. But there is no application in the story, no 
symbolism, no literary game, as though an Indian story were being told in 
Paris. Instead, the story is precisely shared by the two worlds, a city fragment 
and a pampas fragment, each of which is quite mobile; the one is stuck in the 
other and carries it away. What appears continuous in the one would be dis- 
continuous in the other, and vice versa. I am thinking of the admirable way in 
which Santiago filmed the interior of the Meudon Observatory: a metallic and 
deserted city has been planted in a forest. The tam-tams leap from Couperin's 
music, the parrots screech in the Odeon hotel, and the Parisian bookseller is 
truly an Indian. 

Cinema has always been closer to architecture than to theatre. A particular 
relation of architecture and of the camera holds everything together here. The 
metamorphoses have nothing to do with fantasy: the camera leaps from one 
point to another, around an architectural whole, just as Planchon leaps around 
the huge stone fountain. The bookstore's characters leap from one to the other 
around Valery, the heroine who knows how to strike architectural poses. Stand- 
ing or bending, leaning or upright, she watches the metamorphoses from 
Meudon; she is at once the victim and the instigator of the game; she is the 
center for the bookseller's leaps. Actrice Noelle Chatelet: what talent and beau- 
ty, what strange "gravity" in the detailed love scene. What about the way in 
which she, too, though differently than the bookseller, maintains her relation- 
ship with the other world? What she says in architecture, in her look, and in 
her position, he says in movements, in music, and in the camera. It is strange 
that the critics didn't care for this film, even if it were only an experiment in 
cinema endowed with a new mobility. Santiago's previous film, Invasion, was 
already moving in this direction. (The tiebreaker: why is the bookseller named 
Spinoza? Maybe because the two Americas, the two worlds, the city and the 
pampas, are like two attributes of an absolutely shared substance. And this has 
nothing to do with philosophy, it is the substance of the film itself.) 




1. In 1989, Deleuze reviewed and organized his work as a whole, including his books, accord- 
ing to a series of general themes: "I. From Hume to Bergson / II. Classical Studies / III. 
Nietzschean Studies / IV. Critical and Clinical / V. Esthetics / VI. Cinema Studies / VII. Con- 
temporary Studies / VIII. The Logic of Sense / IX. Anti-Oedipus / X. Difference and Repetition 
/ XI. A Thousand Plateaus" 

Desert Islands 

1. Jean Giraudoux, Suzanne et le Pacifique (Paris: Grasset, 1922); reedited in Oeuvres romanesques 
completes, vol 1 (Paris: Gallimard Pleiade, 1990). 

Jean Hyppolite's Logic and Existence 

1. cf. Revue philosophique de la France et de I'etranger, vol. CXLIV, no. 7-9, juillet-septembre 
1954, pp. 457-460. Hyppolite's Logique et Existence was published by PUF in 1953. Jean Hyp- 
polite (1907-1968), philosopher and Hegel specialist, was Deleuze's teacher for the "khagne" 
program at Louis-le-Grand high school. After becoming a professor at the Sorbonne, Hyppolite 
later supervised, with George Canguilhem, the Diplome d'Etudes Superieures which Deleuze 
received for his work on Hume. Deleuze's dissertation would be published by PUF as Empirisme 
et subjectivite in 1953, in the collection "Epimethe" headed by Hyppolite. On several occasions, 
when interviewed, Deleuze refers to his admiration as a student for Hyppolite, to whom 
Empirisme et subjectivite is dedeicated. Beyond paying homage, this is the first Deleuzian text 
that explicitly formulates the hypothesis of an "ontology of pure difference" which will consti- 
tute, as we know, one of the key theses in Difference et repetition. [Editor's note] 

2. Jean Hyppolite, Genesis and Structure of Hegel's Phenomonology of Spirit (Evanston: Northwestern 
University Press, 1974). 

3. Jean Hyppolite, Logic and Existence (Albany: SUNY Press, 1997). 



Bergson, 1859-1941 

1. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, ed. Les Philosophes celebres. Editions d'Art Lucien Mazenod, 1956. 
Pp. 292-299. The following year Deleuze edited, for the Presses Universitaires de France, a col- 
lection of selected texts by Bergson, under the title Memoire et vie; some of the reference notes 
specify this edition. The pagination refers to the current edition of Bergson's individual works 
published by the PUF in the Quadrige collection. 

2. La Pensee et le mouvant II. 

3. Matiere et memoire I, p. 74. 

4. U Evolution creatrice III. 

5. PMU. 

7. MM, III. 
8. £011. 

io. PMvm. 



13. MM III. 

14. /WVI, p. 196-197. 

15. PMIX, p. 259-260. 

16. PMU. 

17. PMV.MMW. 

18. Essai sur les Donnees immediates de la conscience I. 

19. ECU. 

20. MM I. 
21. £011. 

22. MM IV, PM VI. 

2 3 . Les Deux sources de la morale etdela religion III ; MEnergie spirituelle I. 

24. £01, p. 100. 

25. Dill. 

26. MM IV, p. 219. 

27. PM, VI, p. 201. 

28. MM I. 



29. MM III. 

30. £5 V. 

31. MM III. 

32. MM IV, p. 269. 

33. MM II, p. 115 and III, p. 188. 

34. MM III. 
35.PMVI, p. 206-207. 

36. PMVI, p. 208. 

37. £C IV. 

38. /Will. 

39. 7WVI. 

Bergson's Conception of Difference 

1. From Les Etudes bergsoniennes, vol. IV, 1956, p. 77-1 12. All the references are Deleuze's abbrevi- 
ated citations for Bergson's works in French. In their order of appearance, rhey are: M M = Matiere 
etMemoire (1896); P. M. = La Pensee et le Mouvant (1941); E. S. = LEnergie sprirituelle (1919); M. 
R = Les Deux sources de la morale et de la religion (1932); E. C. = LEvolution creatrice (1907); D. I. 
= Essai sur les donnees immediates de la conscience (1889); D. S. = Duree et simultaneite (1922). The 
page numbers correspond to the editions Deleuze used and are noted in the text. The pagination 
refers to the current editions of Bergson's work from PUF in the Quadrige collection. 

2. MM, p. 19, p. 62-63. 

3. PM, p. 52-53. 

4. PM, p. 197. 

5. PM, p. 207. 

6. PM, 23. 

7. ES, p. 4. 

8. ES, first chapter. 

9. MR, p. 263. 

10. MR, p. 292. 

11. EC, p. 217. 

12. PM, p. 61. 

13. EC, p. 107. 

14. EC, p. 107. 

15. EC, p. 184,264-265. 



16. MR, p. 225. 
11. EC, p. 107. 

18. EC, p. 316 sq. 

19. EC, p. 232,235. 

20. MM, p. 182. 

21. PM, p. 61. 

22. PM, p. 208. 

23. PM p. 179. 

24. PM, p. 199. 

25. MM, p. 59. 

26. £>/, first chapter. 

27. DI, p. 90. 

28. MM, p. 219. 

29. PM, p. 163, 167. 

30. EC, p. 267, 270. 

31. PM, p. 81. 

32. £>5, p. 67. 

33. PC, chap. 1. 

34. £C, p. 127. 

35. EC, p. 86. 

36. EC, p. 88. 

37. MP, p. 313. 

38. EC, p. 53 sq. 

39. PM, p. 58. 

40. PC, p. 54. 

41. MP, p. 316. 

42. MR, p. 314. 

43. MP, pp. 313-315. 

44. ES, p. 13. 

45. ES, p. 11. 



46. I do not believe, however, that Bergson was influenced by Plato on this point. Closer to him 
was Gabriel Tarde, who characterized his own philosophy as a philosophy of difference and dis- 
tinguished it from philosophies of opposition. But Bergson's conception of essence and the 
process of difference is very different from Tarde's. 

47. MR, p. 111. 

48. EC, p. 88 sq. 

49. PM, p. 198. 

50. PM, p. 207. 

51. MR, p. 317. 

52. PM, pp. 259-260. 

53. MM, p. 247. 

54. MM, p. 249. 

55. MM, p. 74. 

56. PM, p. 210. 

57. £5, p. 137. 

58. £5, p. 137. 

59. MM, pp. 172-173. 

60. PM, pp. 183-184. 

61. ES, p. 140. 

62. £5, p. 140. 

63. EC, p. 201. 

64. DI, 3rd chapter. 

65. PM, p. 214. 

66. PM, p. 59. 

67. MM, p. 83 sq. 

68. MM, p. 115. 

69. MM, p. 188. 

70. Ibid. 

71. MM, p. 272. 

72. PM, pp. 169-170. 

73. MM, p. 226. 

74. PM, p. 208. 



75. PM, p. 210. 
Id. MM, p. 188. 

77. MM p. 190. 

78. MM, p. 173. 

79. MM, p. 168. 

80. MM p. 180. 

81. ES, p. 132. 

82. MM, p. 180. 

83. MM, p. 135. 

84. MM, p. 83. 

85. MM, p. 139. 

86. DI, p. 180. 

87. MM, p. 250. 

88. £C, p. 220. 

89. EC, p. 231. 

90. EC, p. 319-326. 

91. MM, p. 65. 

92. EC, p. 255. 

93. DI, p. 137. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Precursor of Kafka, Celine, and Ponse 

1. Cf. Arts, no. 872, 6-12 juin 1962, p. 3 (On the occasion of Rousseau's 250th birthday). 
Attending the Sorbonne in 1959 — 1960, Deleuze devoted a year of coursework to Rousseau's 
political philosophy, of which there exits a typed summary, edited by le Centre de Documenta- 
tion de la Sorbonne. [editor's note] 

2. Essai sur Forigine des Ungues, IX, in Oeuvres completes, vol. V (Paris: Gallimard Pleiade, 1995), p. 396. 

3. Les Confessions, II, in Oeuvres completes, vol. I (Paris: Gallimard Pleiade, 1959), p. 56. 

4. Les Confessions, VII, ibid., p. 277. 

5. T. de Quincey, Les Demiers jours dEmmanuelKant (Toulouse: Ombres, 1985). 

6. La Nouvelle Helo'ise, troisieme partie, lettre XX, in Oeuvres completes, vol. II (Paris: Gallimard 
Pleiade, 1961) 1558. 

7. La Nouvelle Helo'ise, quatrieme partie, lettre XII, ibid., p. 496. 

8. La Nouvelle Helo'ise, quatrieme partie, lettre XIV, ibid., p. 509. 



9. La Nouvelle Heloi'se, cinquierae partie, lettre III, ibid., p. 571. 

The Idea of Genesis in Kant's Esthetics 

1. Revue d'esthetique, vol. XVI, no. 2, avril-juin (Paris: PUF, 1963), p. 113-136. That same year, 
Deleuze will publish Kant's Critical Philosophy also with PUF. 

2. Cf. Critique du judgment, "Introduction, § 2, 3, 4, 5. Ed. note: All references to Kant in the article 
come from Critique du jugement, trans. Gibelin (Paris: Vrin, 1960). 

3. §35. 

4. On this theory of proportions, cf. § 21. 

5. § 14 and 51. In these two passages, Kant makes the following argument: colors and sounds would 
be genuine esthetic elements only if the imagination were able to reflect the vibrations that compose 
them; but this is unlikely, since the speed of vibrations produces divisions of time that escape us. How- 
ever, § 5 1 does admit such a possibility for certain people. 

6. § 40. 

7. Ibid. 

8. § 22. 

9. § 20-22. 

10. § 22. 

11. §26. 

12. Ibid. 

13. Remarque generale. 

14. Ibid. 

15. §29. 

16. §30. 

17. § 38: "What makes this deduction so easy is that it does not have to justify the objective reality of 
a concept..." 

18. §30. 

19. § 58. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Ibid. 

22. § 10. This paragraph launches the problem of the deduction all over again. 

23. §42. 

24. Ibid. 

25. § 58. 



26. § 39. 

27. § 42. 

28. Ibid. 

29. § 46. 

30. § 47. 

31. §49. 

32. § Remarque: de la Dialectique. 

33. § 49. 

34. § 48. 

35. § 19. 

36. § 50. 

37. Introduction, § 3 and 9. 

38. § 59. 

39. Ibid. 

40. § 49 and 57. 

How Jarry's Pataphysics Opened the Way for Phenomenology 

1. Alfred Jarry, La Chandelle verte, "La Passion considered comme course de cote" in Oeuvres 
completes, I (Paris: Gallimard Pleiade, 1987), p. 420-422. 

2. The Gay Science, III, § 125; Human, All Too Human, II, 2nd part, § 84. 

3. Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien, livre II, viii, in Oeuvres completes I (Paris: 
Gallimard Pleiade, 1972), p. 668. 

4. Kostas Axelos, a Greek philosopher, headed the series "Arguments" published by Editions de 
Minuit, where Deleuze eventually published two books: Presentation de Sacher Masoch (1967) and 
Spinoza et le probleme de Texpression (1968). Despite friendly ties, Deleuze stopped seeing Axelos 
after the publication in Le Monde (April 28, 1972, p. 9) of a brief article on Anti-Oedipus in which 
Axelos most notably wrote: "My loyal friend, honorable French professor, good husband, excellent 
father of two charming children, (...) would you like your students and your children in their 'effec- 
tive life 1 to follow the example of your own life, or Artaud's life, which so many scribblers claim for 
themselves?" [Editor's note] 

"He Was my Teacher" 

1. Arts, 28 novembre 1964, pp. 8-9. One month earlier Sartre had refused the Nobel prize. 

2. Qu'est-ce que la litterature? (Paris: Gallimard "Folio Essais") 162-163. 

3. Qu'est-ce que la litterature?, ibid., 293. 



The Philosophy of Crime Novels 

l. Arts et Loisirs, no. 18, 26janvier-l fevrier, 1966. 

2. In 1945, the novelist Marcel Duhamel created "La Serie Noire" at Gallimard; it is a series ded- 
icated to the crime novel, which he headed till 1977. 

3. Maurice Leblanc, Arsene Lupin contre Sherlock Holmes, 1908, reedited by Livre de Poche. 

4. In 1952, a democratic senator issued a report on organized crime in America. 

5. M. le President (Paris: Flammarion, 1987). 

On Gilbert Simondon 

1. Revue philosophique de la France et de Tetranger, vol. CLVI, no. 1-3, janv-mars 1966, pp. 
115-118. This work by G. Simondon (1924-1989) was published in 1964 at PUF, coll. 
'Epimethee.' It's a partial publication of his doctorat d'Etat: L 'individuation a la lumiere des 
notions de forme et d'information, which he defended in 1958. The second part was not published 
until 1989, at Aubier, under the title L' individuation psychique et collective. 

Humans: A Dubious Existence 

1. Le Nouvel Observateur, ler juin 1966, pp. 32-34. On Michel Foucault's book, The Order of Things: 
An archeology of the Human sciences, trans. Alan Sheridan-Smith. New York: Random House, 1970. 

IMC, p. 321. 

3. MC, p. 353. 

The Method of Dramatization 

1. Bulletin de la Societe francaise de Philosophic, 61e annee, no. 3, juillet-septembre 1967, pp. 
89-118. (Reunion of the French Society of Philosophy on January 28, 1967; present are Ferdi- 
nand Alquie, Jean Beaufret, Georges Bouligand, Stanlislas Breton, Maurice de Gandillac, 
Jacques Merleau-Ponty, Noel Mouloud, Alexis Philonenko, Lucy Prenant, Pierre-Maxime 
Schuhl, Michel Souriau, Jean Ullmo, Jean Wahl.) This talk takes up some of the themes from 
Difference and Repetition (Paris: PUF, 1969), Deleuze's dissertation for his Doctorat d'Etat, which 
he was finishing at the time, under the direction of Maurice de Gandillac, and which he would 
defend early in 1969. See especially chapters 4 and 5. 

2. In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze refers to the work of R. Ruyer, Elements de psycho-hiolo- 
gie (Paris: PUF, 1946) chap. iv. 

3. Cf. Le Temps retrouve in A la Recherche du temps perdu (Plciade, 1989) 451. 

4. Jean Wahl (1888-1974), philosopher, poet, known for his studies on American philosophy, 
Descartes, Plato, and existential philosophies (Kierkegaard, Sartre). 

5. P.-M. Schuhl (1902-1984), specialist in ancient philosophy, worked extensively on the 
thought of Plato. 

6. Noel Mouloud (1914-1984), philosopher, developed a structural approach to epistemology. 

7. Ferdinand Alquie (1906-1985), philosopher, specialist of Descartes and Kant, and one of 
Deleuze's professors at the Sorbonne. 



8. Maurice de Gandillac (b. 1906), philosopher, specialist in medieval thought, and translator 
of German philosophers from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries. Deleuze pays him hom- 
mage in DRF, "Les plages d'imminance." 

9. Michel Souriau, philosopher, has devoted studies to the philosophy of Kant and the question of time. 

10. L. Prenant (1891-1978), philosopher, Leibniz specialist. 

11. J. Ullmo (1906-1980), philosopher, epistemologist. 

12. G. Bouligand (1899-1979), philosopher and mathematician. 

13. J. Merleau-Ponty, born in 1916, philosopher and epistemologist, has also worked on cosmology. 

14. Jean Beaufret (1907-1982), philosopher, authored numerous studies on Heidegger (whose 
work Beaufret is latgely responsible for introducing into France) and on Greek thought. 

15. S. Breton, born in 1912, theologian, philosopher, priest. 

16. A. Philonenko, born in 1932, philosopher, Kant and Fichte specialist. 

Conclusions on the Will to Power and the Eternal Return 

1. Cahiers de Royaumont no. VI: Nietzsche (Editions de Minuit, 1967), pp. 275-287. 

2. Deleuze organized a colloqium on Nietzsche which took place in the Abbey of Royaument, 
July 4-8, 1964. This is the only such event that he would ever organize. As is customary, Deleuze 
had to thank the participants and sum up their positions. 

3. Cf. Zarathoustra, III, "De la vision de l'enigme" and "Le convalescent." 

4. Ibid. 

5. Gai Savoir, V, 346. 

6. Beyond Good and Evil, 213: "Thinking and taking something seriously, taking on its burden, 
it's one and the same for them, they have no other experience.." 

7. Zarathoustra, II, "Des hommes sublimes." 

8. Cf. Charles Mugler, Deux themes de la cosmologie grecque: devenir cyclique et pluralite des mon- 
des (Klincksieck, 1953). 

9. Zarathoustra, III, "Le convalescent." 

Nietzsche's Burst of Laughter 

1. Taken from an interview by Guy Dumur, Le Nouvel Observateur, April 5, 1967, pp. 40-41. 

2. I have reconstituted the question missing from the original text. It is about the edition of 
Nietzsche's Oeuvres philosophiques completes (Paris: Gallimard, 1967), for which Deleuze and 
Foucault had written together a general introduction in Gai Savoir: Fragments posthumes 
(1881-1882), vol V, pp.. i-iv. [editor's note] 

Mysticism and Masochism 

1. Interview by Madeleine Chapsal, La Quinzaine litteraire, 1 — 15 avril 1967, p. 13. The occa- 
sion is the publication of Presentation de Sacher Masoch, accompanied by one of Masoch's works, 
La Venus a lafourrure (Editions de Minuit, 1967). 



2. Sigmund Freud, Oeuvres completes, vol. XV (PUF, 1996). 

3. La Mere de Dieu and Pecheuses d'ames were newly edired by Champ Vallon in 1991. 

On Nietzsche and the Image of Thought 

1. Editor's ride. "Interview with Gilbert Deleuze" [sic]. Conducted by Jean-Noel Vuarnet, Les 
Lettres francaises, no. 1223, 28 fev-5 mars 1968, pp. 5, 7, 9. 

2. See footnote 2 for text no. 16. 

3. Ludwig Feuerbach, L'Essence du christianisme (Paris: F. Maspero, 1968). 

4. Arrhur Rimbaud, letter to Paul Demeny, May 5, 1871, Oeuvres completes (Pleiade, 1972) 252. 

Gilles Deleuze Talks Philosophy 

1. Interview conducted by Jeanette Colombel, La Quinzaine litteraire, no. 68, 1-15 mars 1969, 

Gueroult's General Method for Spinoza 

1. Revue de metaphysique et de morale, vol. LXXXIV, no. 4, octobre-decembre 1969, pp. 426-437. 
The article refers to M. Gueroult's Spinoza, I, — Dieu, Ethique /(Paris: Aubier-Montaigne, 1968). 

2. LEvolution et la structure de la Doctrine de la Science chez Fichte (Les Belles Lettres) vol. I, p. 174. 

3. Cf. Descartes selon Fordre des raisons (Aubier), vol. 1, avant-propos. 

4. For examples of such nexuses or intersections in Descarres, cf. Descartes vol. 1, p. 237, 319. 

5. L. Robinson, Kommentar zu Spinosas Ethik (Leipzig: F. Meiner, 1928). Gueroulr cites and dis- 
cusses this commentary several times. 

6. For Fichte, Gueroulr already shows how consrructability is extended to transcendental con- 
cepts, despite their differences of narure with geometric concepts. 

7. The inquiry into this is one of the more profound aspects of Gueroulr's method: for example, 
pp. 178-185 (the organization of proposition 11: why is the existence of God demonstrated by 
his substantiality and not by the necessary exisrence of the constitutive attributes?), pp. 300-302 
(why do the eternity and the immurabiliry of God and his artributes appear in 19 and 20, in 
relation to causality and not divine essence?), pp. 361-363 (why isn't the status of will in 32, 
directly concluded from rhe status of understanding in 31, but resulrs by a whole orher path?). 
There are many other examples throughout the book. 

8. Malebranche, 3 vol., (Paris: Aubier-Montaigne, 1955-1959). 

9. Cf. Fichte, vol. II, p. 3. 

10. Appendice no. 2 (pp. 426-428). Cf. also appendice no. 6 (pp. 471-488). A comparison with 
the Short Treatise makes a rigorous appearance in Chapter III. 

11. On these two misreadings, see the definitive account in appendix no. 3 (especially the criti- 
cism of interpretaions by Brunschvicg and Eduard von Hartmann). 

12. Gueroult, Spinoza p. 163, 167. 

13. Ibid., pp. 149-150, 156-158, and especially appendix no. 17 (pp. 581-582). 



14. Ibid., p. 153, 162. 

15. Ibid., p. 158. Gueroult provides further proof that a theory of multiplicities is fully elabo- 
rated by Spinoza when Gueroult analyzes another type of multiplicity, one that is purely modal, 
but no less irreducible to number; see appendix no. 9, "explication de la Lettre sur l'lnfmi." 

16. Ibid., p. 234, 447. Gueroult points out that the Ethics does not apply the terms simplex or 
ens simplicissimum to God. 

17. Ibid., p. 202,210. 

18. Ibid., p. 33. 

19. On the ambiguity of the notion of figure, see appendix no. 1 (p. 422). 

20. Ibid., p. 161. 

21. Ibid., p. 141: "Spinoza says: 'you will quickly see where I am headed provided you simulta- 
neously (simul) keep in mind the definition of God.' Similarly, it is impossible to know the real 
nature of the triangle if the angles of which it is composed have not been considered and their 
properties not demonstrated; although we would not have been able to say anything about the 
nature of the triangle either, nor the properties which its nature imposes on the angles that com- 
pose it, if the true idea of its essence had not been simultaneously given to us, moreover, 
independently of them." And p. 164: "The attributes have a character such that they can be 
related to one same substance, as soon as there exists a substance so perfect that it demands that 
they be related to it as the unique substance. But insofar as the existence of such a substance has 
not been demonstrated by means of the idea of God, we are not obliged to relate them to it and 
the construction cannot be completed." Also, pp. 226-227: "The unicity proper to the infinitely 
infinite nature of God is the principle of unity in him of all the substances that compose him. 
However, the unsuspecting reader inclines toward the opposite reading, that Spinoza must prove 
the unicity of God by his unity... With unfailing consistency, Spinoza takes the opposite path: 
he proves the unity of substances not by virtue of their nature, but by virtue of the necessary 
unicity of divine substance... Whence we find confirmed once again that the generating princi- 
ple of the unity ol substances in divine substance is not as has been thought: it is not the concept 
of substance as deduced in the first eight Propositions that would lead to pluralism, but the 
notion of God." 

22. Ibid., p. 204, pp. 191-193. 

23. Ibid., p. 206. 

24. Ibid., p. 238, 447. 

25. Ibid., p. 239. 

26. Ibid., pp. 379-380. 

27. Ibid., p. 237: "Infinitely different as to their essence, they are thus identical as to their cause, an 
identical thing meaning identical cause," and p. 260. 

28. Cf. p. 290 (and p. 285, where Gueroult clarifies: "The incommensurability of God with his 
understanding means only that God as cause is absolutely other than his understanding as effect, 
and precisely, it follows that the idea as idea must be absolutely other than its object. Thus, 
incommensurability in this case does not at all mean the radical incompatibility of the conditions of 
knowledge with the thing to be known, but only the separation and the opposition of the subject and 
the object, of what knows from what is known, of the thing from its idea, a separation and an 
opposition which, far from impeding knowledge, on the contrary make it possible..."). 

29. Ibid., p. 281: "Thus, paradoxically, the attribution to God of an understanding and a will 
which are incommensurable with our own, in fact conceals an inveterate anthropomorphism, all 
the more harmful that it presents itself as its supreme negation." 



30. Ibid., p. 12 (and pp. 9-11, the confrontation with Descartes, Malebranche and Leibniz, who 
still preserve a perspective of eminence, analogy, or even symbolism in their conception of the 
understanding and power of God). 

3 1 . Ibid., see p. 267. 

32. Ibid., see the two passages pp. 347-348, 381-386. 

The Fissure of Anaxasoras and the Local Fires of Heraclitus 

1. Critique, no. 275, avril 1970, pp. 344-351. This article is about three works by Kostas Axe- 
los: Vers la Pensee planetaire (Editions de Minuit, 1964); Arguments d'une recherche (Editions de 
Minuit, 1969); LeJeudu tnonde (Editions de Minuit, 1969), abridged respectively VPP, AR, JM. 
On the personal relations between Deleuze and Axelos, see note 4 in "How Jarry's Pataphysics 
opened the Way for Phenomenology.". 

2. VPP, p. 46. 

3. AR, p. 172. 

4. VPP, pp. 100-102. 

6.JM, 254. 
7.JM, p. 273. 

8. VPP, p. 295. Herbert Marcuse, strangely enough, supports his critique of functional or uni- 
dimensional language by invoking a traditional conception of the judgment of existence and 
attribution (V Homme unidimensionel, Ed de Minuit, p. 119 sq.). The use Axelos makes of'Mar- 
cuse's notions 'unidimensional' and 'multidimensional' will become clear momentarily. 

9. JM, p. 412. 

10. VPP, p. 312. 

11. AR, p. 160 sq. 

12. Cf. Andre Glucksmann, Le Discours de la guerre (L'Herne), pp. 235-240. 

13. On the question "Is there a universal conflagration according to Heraclitus?", see Axelos's com- 
mentary in Heraclite et la philosophic (Ed. de Minuit, 1962) pp. 104-105: "Universal conflagration, 
understod as total annihilation, provisional or definitive, is not a Heraclitean vision. Because the world 
is not created by fire, it cannot be reabsorbed by it... Fire cannot overcome and annihilate the other 
elements because justice resides in discord and harmony in strife. Would Heraclitus, after insulting 
Homer for wanting discord to cease, which would be the destruction of the Universe, himself commit 
the supreme contradiction of destroying the Universe either momentarily or forever? If the world is the 
fire in all things, how would it be possible for the world to be consumed by fire? 

14. AR, pp. 20-22. 

15. Cf. Axelos's preface to Gyorgy Lukacs, Histoire et conscience de classe. 

16. Beside these two texts on Heraclitus and Anaxagoras in AR, see VPP, La Pensee fragmentaire 
de la totalite chez Pascal, and Rimbaud et la poe 'sie du monde planetaire. 

17. Cf. Jacques Ehrmann, "L'homme en jeu," Critique, no 266. Ehrmann's five theses at the end 
of his article correspond to Axelos's conception: 1) The game has no subject; 2) the game is com- 
munication; 3) the game is a space-time spiral; 4) the game is finite and unlimited, since it traces 
its own limits; 5) the game implies and explains what is beyond the game. 



18. Eugen Fink, Lejeu comme symbole du monde, Ed. de Minuit. 


1. In Francois Chatelet, ed., Histoire de lapbilosopbie, t. IV: Les Lumieres (Paris: Hachette, 1972), 
pp. 65-78. 

2. D. Hume, Traite de la nature humaine, trad. Leroy (Paris: Aubier, 1973), p. 552; A Treatise of 
Human Nature, II, Part 3, Sec. 9. Either Deleuze or Hume's French translator mistakenly has 
"percussion instrument" for the original "string instrument" [Elie During's note]. 

3. Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, II, Part 1, Sec. 10. 

4. Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, III, Part 2, Sec. 3 (footnote). 

How do We Recosnize Structuralism? 

1. In Francois Chatelet, ed., Histoire de la philosophic vol. VIII: he XXe Siecle (Paris: Hachette, 
1972), pp. 299-335. 

2. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits (Paris: Seuil, 1966), pp. 386-389 [in "Reponse au commentaire de Jean 
Hyppolite sur la 'Verneinung' de Freud"]. 

3. Lacan no doubt has gone the furthest in the original analysis of the distinction between imagi- 
nary and symbolic. But this distinction itself, in its diverse forms, is found in all the structuralists. 

4. See Claude Levi-Strauss, "Reponses a quelques questions," Esprit-33A 1 (1963): pp. 636-637. 

5. Trans: On the concept of a pure, unextended spatium, see Deleuze, Difference et repetition (Paris: 
PUF, 1968), pp. 296-297, Difference and Repetition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 
pp. 229-231. 

6. Louis Althusser, in Lire le Capital, 2 vol., (Paris: Maspero, 1965), 2: p. 157 [Reading Capital, 
trans. Ben Brewster (New York: Versom 1979), p. 180]. 

7. Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les Choses (Paris: Gallimard, 1966), pp. 329-333 [The Order of 
Things (No translator attributed) (New York: Vintage, 1970), pp. 318-322], 

8. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits p. 30 ["Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter'," trans. Jeffrey Mehlman, Yale 
French Studies 48 (1972), p. 60]. 

9. Claude Levi-Strauss, "Reponses a quelques questions." Esprit 33.11 (1963), p. 637. 

10. Trans: Althusser, Pour Marx (Paris: Maspero, 1965), pp. 87-128; For Marx, trans. Ben Brew- 
ster (New York: Pantheon, 1969), pp. 89-127. 

1 1. Trans: See Deleuze, Logique du sens (Paris: Minuit, 1969), pp. 88-89, Logic of Sense (New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 71. 

12. Trans: Althusser, Pour Marx (Paris: Maspero, 1965), pp. 131-152; For Marx, trans. Ben Brew- 
ster (New York: Pantheon, 1969), pp. 131-151, "The 'Piccolo Teatro': Bertolazzi and Brecht." 

13. Trans: The coup de des metaphor is associated in French literature with Mallarme's poem, "Un 
coup de des jamais n'abolira le hasard...", Oeuvres completes, Eds. Henri Mondor and G. Jean- 
Aubry (Paris: Gallimard, Pleiade, 1945), pp. 455-477, and Deleuze cites Nietzsche's Zarathustra 
in Difference et repetition, pp. 361-364 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 282-284]. See also Difference 
et repetition, pp. 255-260, 364 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 197-202]; Nietzsche et la philosophic 
(Paris: PUF 1962), pp. 29-31 [Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1983), pp. 25-27]; Logique du sens, pp. 74-82 [Logic of Sense, pp. 



58-65]; Foucault (Paris: Minuit, 1986), pp. 124-125 [Foucault, trans. Sean Hand (Minneapolis: 
University of Minnesota Press, 1988), p. 17]. 

14. Trans: Deleuze draws this example from the work of Raymond Roussel. See Difference et repeti- 
tion, p. 159 [Difference and Repetition], p. 121. 

15. Trans: On the three types of determination, see Difference et repetition pp. 221 -224 [Difference 
and Repetition, pp. 170-173]. 

16. Trans: See Difference et repetition, p. 237 [Difference and Repetition, p. 183] for a definition of 
"structure" as multiplicity and the criteria following which an Idea emerges. 

17. Claude Levi-Strauss, Anthropologic structurale (Paris: Plon, 1958), vol. 1, pp. 235-242 [1963, 
Structural Anthropology I, Trans. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York: Basic 
Books), pp. 213-218]. 

18. Trans: It is clear from this and later arguments (cf. the fourth criterion below) that Deleuze 
establishes one correspondence represented by the "differential relations-species-variables" triad, 
and another represented by the "singularities-organic parts-function" triad. Hence, our translation 
of "les uns ... les autres" as "former" and "latter," rather than as "some species ... others"; this trans- 
lation, i.e. as a random variation between species would miss the "double aspect," only one side of 
which bears on species as such, the other side expressing itself as the distribution of parts within a 
species. On the distinction species/parts, see Difference et repetition, pp. 318-327 [Difference and 
Repetition, pp. 247-254] (in fact, most of chapter 5 deals with this "organization" that happens at 
the moment of "actualization"). 

19. ClaudeLevi-Strauss, Anthropologic structurale 1, pp. 343-344 [Structural Anthropology 1, pp. 

20. Serge Leclaire, "Compter avec la psychanalyse," Cahierspour I 'analyse 8 (1967), pp. 97-105. 

21. Louis Althusser, Lire le Capital (Paris: Maspero, 1965), pp. 152-157 [Reading Capital, trans. 
Ben Brewster (New York: Verso, 1979), pp. 177-180]. Cf. also Etienne Balibar in Althusser Lire 
le Capital, pp. 205-211 [Reading Capital, pp. 211-216]. Trans: See Deleuze's reformulation, Dif- 
ference et repetition, pp. 240-241 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 186-187]. 

22. Roman Jakobson, Essais de linguistiquegenerate, 1 (Paris: Minuit, 1963), ch. VI [pp. 103-149] 
[Fundamentals of Language (The Hague: Mouton, 1956), pp. 3-51]. 

23. Trans: This expression is drawn from Proust's Le Temps retrouve, in A la Recherche du temps 
perdu (Paris: Gallimard, Pleiade, 1954), 3, p. 873; see Marcel Proust et les signes (Paris: PUF, 1964, 

1970, 1971, 1976), pp. 71-73, Proust and Signs, trans. Richard Howard (New York: G. Braziller, 
1972), pp. 56-59. On the concept of virtuality, see Difference et repetition, pp. 269-276 [Differ- 
ence and Repetition, pp. 208-214]. 

24. Louis Althusser, Lire le Capital 1, p. 82, 2, p. 44 [Reading Capital 64, pp. 97-98]. 

25. Trans: On the distinction between differentiation [differencier] and differential [differentier], 
see Difference et repetition, pp. 270 — 271 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 209 — 211]. 

26. The book by Jules Vuillemin, Philosophic de Talgehre (Paris: PUF, 1960, 1962), proposes a 
determination of structures in mathematics. He insists on the importance in this regard of a theo- 
ry of problems (following the mathematician Abel), and of principles of determination (reciprocal, 
complete and progressive determination according to Galois). He shows how structures, in this 
sense, provide the only means of realizing the ambitions of a true genetic method. 

27. Jean Pouillon, "L'oeuvre de Claude Levi-Strauss," Les Temps Modernes 126 (1956), p. 155. 

28. Edmond Ortigues, Le Discours et le symbole (Paris: Aubier, 1962), p. 197. Ortigues also 
marks the second difference between the imaginary and the symbolic: the "dual" or "specular" 
character of the imagination, in opposition to the Third, to the third term which belongs to the 
symbolic system. 



29. Louis Althusser, Lire le CapitaH, pp. 169-177 [Reading Capital, pp. 187-193]. Trans: See J.- 
A. Miller, "La suture (elements de la logique du signifiant)," Cabierspour Fanalyse 1/2 (1966), pp. 
49-51 ["Suture (elements of the logic of the signifier)," Trans. Jacqueline Rose, Screen 18.4 
(1977-78), pp. 32-34]. 

30. Claude Levi-Strauss, Anthropologic structural, p. 224 [Structural Anthropology, p. 203]. 

3 1 . Serge Leclaire, "La mort dans la vie de l'obsede," La Psychanalyse 2 (1956). Trans: Deleuze refers 
to Leclaire's analyses in discussing questions and problems as "living acts of the unconscious," Dif- 
ference et repetition, pp. 140-141 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 106-107, 316-317 fn. 17]. 

32. Trans: In a translator's note in What Is Philosophy?, Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell 
remark: "In her translation of Sartre's Being and Nothingness (New York: Philosophical Library, 
1956), Hazel Barnes translates objectite, which she glosses as 'the quality or state of being an object' 
(p. 632), as 'objectness' or, on occasion, as 'object-state.' We have preferred 'objectality' in line with 
Massumi's translation of visageite as 'faciality' in A Thousand Plateaus (Deleuze and Guattari, What 
Is Philosophy? [New York: Columbia University Press, 1994], pp. 3-4). On the question/problem as 
objective instances, see Difference et repetition, pp. 219-221 & 359 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 

33. Claude Levi-Strauss, Le Totemisme aujourd'hui (Paris: PUF, 1962), p. 112 [Totemism, trans. 
Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963), pp. 77-78]. Trans: On totemism and its struc- 
turalist interpretation, see Milleplateaux (Paris: Minuit, 1980), pp. 288-89 [A Thousand Plateaus, 
trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 236]. 

34. Trans: On serialization and its relation to Lacan's analysis, see Logique du sens, pp. 51-55 [Logic 
of Sense, pp. 37-40]. 

35. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits 15 ["Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter,'" p. 44]. 

36. Jacques Lacan, Le Mythe individual du nevrose (Paris: CDU, 1953) ["The Neurotic's Individ- 
ual Myth," trans. Martha Noel Evans, The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 48 (1979), p. 405-425], 
reprinted in revised form in Ornicar, pp. 17 — 18, 1979. 

37. Philippe Sollers, Drame (Paris: Seuil, 1965). Trans: Deleuze says that Sollers's novel "takes as its 
motto a formula by Leibniz: 'Suppose, for example, that someone draws a number of points on the 
paper at random. ... I say that it is possible to find a geometric line the notion of which is constant 
and uniform according to a certain rule such that his line passes through all the points...'," and 
adds: "The entire beginning of this book is constructed on the two formulae: 'Problem...' and 
'Missed...'. Series are traced out in relation to the singular points of the body of the narrator, an 
ideal body which is 'thought rather than perceived'," Difference et repetition, pp. 257 [Difference 
and Repetition, p. 326 fn. 16]. 

38. Jean-Pierre Faye, Analogues (Paris: Seuil, 1964). 

39. Sigmund Freud, Oeuvres completes, vol. IX (Paris: PUF, 1998). 

40. Claude Levi-Strauss, Le Totemisme aujourdh'hui 115 [Totemism, pp. 79-81]. 

41. Trans: The allusion refers Arthur Rimbaud's enigmatic prose poem "H" and to the final line, 
"trouvez Hortense" [find Hortense]. See Rimbaud, Oeuvres completes (Paris: Gallimard, 1972) 151. 

42. Trans: On the refrain, see Difference et repetition 161 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 122-123]. 

43. Andre Green, "L'objet (a) de J. Lacan," Cahierspour I 'analyse 3 (1966), p. 32. 

44. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits, p. 25 ["Seminar on 'The Purloined Letter,'" p. 55; translation modified]. 
Trans: See also Difference et repetition, p. 157 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 199-200]. 

45. Trans: On the simultaneously relative and absolute status of movements (as characterizing the 
concept), see Qu'est-ce que la philosophic ? (Paris: Minuit, 1991) 26-27 [What Is Philosophy?, trans. 



Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), pp. 21-22]. 

46. Trans: See Logique du sens, pp. 55-56 [Logic of Sense, pp. 40-41]. 

47. Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les choses, pp. 19-31 [The Order of Things, pp. 3-16]. 

48. Trans: Deleuze cites Sollers and Faye in his discussion of the "blind spot" in Difference et repetition, 
p. 257 [Difference and Repetition, p. 326], 

49. J-A. Miller "La suture (elements de la logique du signifiant)," pp. 44-49 ["Suture (elements of 
the logic of the signifier)," pp. 26-32]. 

50. Claude Levi-Strauss, "Introduction a Foeuvre de Marcel Mauss," pp. 49-59, in Marcel 
Mauss, Sociologie et anthropologic, Paris: PUF, 1950. Trans: See also Logique du sens, pp. 63-64 
[Logic of Sense, pp. 48-50]. 

51. Trans: See Logique du sens, pp. 57-62 [Logic of Sense, pp. 44-47]. 

52. Trans: On the object = x and word = x, see Difference et repetition, pp. 1 56 — 163 [Difference and 
Repetition, pp. 118-125]. 

53. Michel Foucault, Raymond Roussel (Paris: Gallimard, 1963) [Death and the Labyrinth: The 
World of Raymond Roussel, trans. Charles Ruas (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986)]. 

54. Trans: See Logique du sens, pp. 266-268 [Logic of Sense, pp. 228-230]. 

55. Trans: On the phallus as "object = x," see the thirty-second series in Logic of Sense. 

56. Cf. Macherey in Lire le Capital, pp. 242-252, the analysis that Macherey carries out on the notion 
of value, showing that this notion is always staggered in relation to the exchange in which it appears. 

57. Foucault Les Mots et les choses, 392 [The Order of Things, p. 380] Trans: On the status of dif- 
ferent "orders" in relation to one another, see Difference et repetition, pp. 236-242 [Difference and 
Repetition, pp. 182-186]. 

58. Trans: See Difference et repetition, pp. 251-266 [Difference and Repetition, pp. 195-206] and 
Logique du sens, pp. 67-73 [Logic of sense, pp. 52-57]. 

59. Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les choses, p. 353 [The Order of Things, p. 342]. 

60. Trans: See Difference et repetition, pp. 316-319, pp. 354-357 (conclusion) [Difference and Rep- 
etition, pp. 246-248, pp. 276-279]. 

61. Claude Levi-Strauss, Le Cru et le Cuit (Paris: Plon, 1964), p. 19 [The Raw and the Cooked, 
trans. John and Doreen Weightman (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), p. 11]. 

62. Cf. the schema proposed by Serge Leclaire, following Lacan, in "A la recherche des principes 
d'une psychotherapie des psychoses," L'Evolution psychiatrique 2 (1958). 

63. On the Marxist notions of "contradiction" and "tendency," cf. the analyses of Etienne Balibar, 
in Althusser, Lire le Capital, pp. 296-303 [Reading Capital, pp. 283-293]. 

64. Cf. Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les choses, p. 230 [The Order of Things, p. 217]: structural 
mutation "[this profound breach in the expanse of continuities], though it must be analyzed, and 
minutely so, cannot be 'explained' or even summed up in a single word. It is a radical event that is 
distributed across the entire visible surface of knowledge, and whose signs, shocks, and effects, it is 
possible follow step by step." 



Three Group-Related Problems 

1. Preface to Felix Guattari, Psychanalyse et transversalite (Paris: Francois Maspero, 1972), pp. i-xi. 
Deleuze and Guattari will met in the summer of 1969, in Limousin, and very quickly decided to 
work together. In 1972, Anti-Oedipus signaled the beginning of their collective efforts, which 
would continue for twenty years: , Kafka : For a Minor Literature (1975), Thousand Plateaus 
(1980), What Is Philosophy . A (1991). Cf. DRF, the letter to Uno: "comment nous avons travaille a 

2. Guattari was initially a militant connected with Trotskyism (which will get him thrown out of 
the French Gommunist Party), and then later agitated in several different groups (viz., la Voie 
communiste, /'Opposition de Gauche, le mouvement du 22 mars); at the same time, he joined the 
team of experts at the now famous La Borde clinic, when Dr. Jean Oury first opened it in 1953. 
It is in this clinic that the foundations of institutional psychotherapy would be defined in both 
practical and theoretical terms, following the pioneering work of Dr. Tosquelles (in which the psy- 
chotherapeutic cure is thought of as inseparable from the analysis of institutions). Guattari, as a 
member of the CERFI (the Center for Research and Institutional Formation), was a student of 
Lacan from the very beginnings of the Seminar and a member of the French Freudian school in 
Paris. The texts from Psychanalyse et transversaliteretvace the steps of his entire development from 
a theoretical and practical standpoint. 

3. Marcel Jaeger, "LUnderground de la folie," in "Folie pour folie," Partisans, fevrier 1972. 

4. Cahiers de Verite, serie "Sciences humaines et Lutte des classes," no. 1. 

5. Deleuze has here added a note on a personal copy: "for example, political economy is decided 
at least decided at a European- wide level, whereas social politics remain the concern of the State." 

6. Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization. Random House, 1965, appendice I. 

"What Our Prisoners Want From Us..." 

1. Le Nouvel Observateur, 31 Janvier 1972, p. 24. Early in 1971, Deleuze joined the GIP (The 
Group for Information on Prisons), which was established in 1970 with the guidance of Daniel 
Defert and Michel Foucault. Following the dissolution of the GIP in December 1972, the 
ADDD was formed (Association for the Defense of the Rights of Prisoners). Deleuze partici- 
pated in the Association with Daniel Deferr, Jean-Marie Domenach, Dominique Eluard, and 
Vercors. In June 1971, Deleuze wrote a brief press release on the Jaubert Affair, which appeared 
in the supplement to La Cause du Peuple-J'accuse. (The journalist Alain Jaubert, beaten up in a 
police van as he accompanied someone injured during a demonstration, had been indicted for 
assaulting a police officer.) For further documentation, see P. Artieres, ed., Le Groupe d'infor- 
mation sur lesprisons: archives d'une lutte 1971 — 1972 (Paris: IMEC Editions, 2002). 

2. In December 1971 and January 1972, more than thirty riots broke out in the prisons atToul, 
Nancy, and Lille. On January 18, 1972, Deleuze participated with Jean-Paul Sartre, Claude 
Mauriac, Michele Vian, Alain Jaubert, and many others in a sit-in organized by Michel Foucault, 
in the great hall of the Ministry of Justice. 

3. Dr. Edith Rose, a psychiatrist for the Ney penitentiary at Toul, had conducted a report on the 
detention conditions of the prisoners: tortures, suicides, punishment, the use of tranquilizers, etc. 
Foucault read long passages from it during a press conference in Toul on December 16, 1971, and 
with his friends purchased a page of Le Monde to make public before its appearance the official 
inquiry of M. Schmelck. From Dr. Rose's report, Deleuze composed a brief notice, "A propos des 
psychiatres dans les prisons" in the APL bulletin on January 9, 1972, in which he called on psy- 
chiatrists and psychoanalysts, "damaging witnesses" in the prisons, to denounce "the penitentiary 
regime in France." Dr. Rose will be dismissed from the penitentiary administration. 

4. The Pleven reforms, following the Schmelck report on the prison riots at Toul, aimed at the 
improvement of detention conditions, cafeterias, exercise, etc. 



Intellectuals and Power 

1. An interview with Michel Foucault on March 4, 1972, in L'Arc, no. 49: "Gilles Deleuze," 
1972, pp. 3-30. 

2. Cf. "What Our Prisoners Want From Us," note 1. 

3. See "What Our Prisoners Want From Us," note 3. 

4. Cf. "Sur la justice populaire. Debat avec les maos" (5 fevrier 1972), Les Temps modernes, no. 310 
bis, juin 1972, pp. 355-366. Repris in Dits et Ecrits, vol. II, no. 108 (Paris: Gallimard, 1994). 

Remarks (on Jean-Francois Lyotard) 

1. La Quinzaine litteraire, no. 140, 1-15 mai 1972, p. 19. These remarks are on Jean-Francois 
Lyotard's Discours, Figure (Paris: Klincksieck, 1971). Discours, Figure is Lyotard's doctoral thesis; 
Deleuze was one of the members on the defense committee. 

Deleuze and Guattari Fight Back... 

1. Cf. La Quinzaine litteraire, no. 143, 16-30 juin 1972, pp. 15-19. This is a round-table discus- 
sion with Francois Chatelet, Pierre Clastres, Roger Dadoun, Serge Leclaire, Maurice Nadeau, 
Raphael Pividal, Pierre Rose, and Henri Torrubia. The director of the Quinzaine, Maurice Nadeau, 
in collaboration with the philosopher Francois Chatelet, wanted to confront the authors of Anti- 
Oedipus with specialists from several human sciences: psychoanalysis (Roger Dadoun, Serge 
Leclaire), psychiatry (HenriTorrubia), sociology (Raphael Pividal), philosophy (Francois Chatelet), 
and ethnology (Pierre Clastres). 

2. Cf. Sexualitehumaine (Paris: Aubier, 1970). 

Helene Cixous, or Writing in Strobe 

1. Le Monde, no. 8576, 11 aout 1972, p. 10. (On the book by Ft. Cixous, Neutre (Paris: Cras- 
ser, 1972). 

2. H. Cixous, Dedans (Paris: Grasset, 1969). 

3. H. Cixous, L'Exil de James Joyce ou Tart de remplacement (Paris: Grasset, 1968). 

4. Strobe or strobelight: the discountinuous lighting of a scene. The effect produced depends on 
the frequency of the flashes and movements in the scene. 

Capitalism and Schizophrenia 

1. The French text is a translation from the Italian, in an interview with Vittorio Marchetti, 
"Capitalismo e schizophrenia," Tempi Moderni, no. 12 (1972), pp. 47-64. 

2. Arthur Rimbaud, Une Saison en enfer, "Mauvais sang," in Oeuvres completes (Pleiade, 1972), p. 95. 

H.M.'s Letters 

1. Suicides dans les prisons en 1972 (Paris: Gallimard, coll. 'Intolerable,' 1973), pp. 38-40. This 
text is unsigned, the usual practice for GIP; it was written with Daniel Defert, a sociologist, 
Michel Foucault's partner and co-founder of GIP. See the introductory note to "What Our Pris- 
oners Want From Us." 



2. Pierre Arpaillanges, Director of Criminal Affairs and Pardons at the Justice Departmenr since Rene 
Pleven had raken office in June 1969, published a report in 1972 severely criticizing the workings of 
the penitentiary system (prison dysfunction, overpopulation, etc.). Still secret when Gilles Deleuze and 
Michle Defert composed this text, the report would be made public by the minisrer in June 1973. 

3. George Jackson, a miliranr African-American, was imprisoned in San Quentin and Soledad, 
where he was murdered on August 21, 1971. Gilles Deleuze and members of the GIP collaborat- 
ed on a special edition: L'Assassinat de George Jackson (Paris: Gallimard, coll. 'Intolerable,' 1971). 

4. See "What Our Prisoners Want From Us," note 4. 

Hot and Cool 

1. In Fromanger, lepeintre et le modele (Paris: Baudard Alvarez, 1973), exhibition catalogue. Born 
in 1939, Gerard Fromanger gets himself noticed in May '68 by exhibiting huge plastic spheres in 
the streets of Paris. But Deleuze is concerned here with the monochrome composition which Fro- 
manger turned to early in the '70s. 

2. M. McLuhan, Pour Comprendre les medias (Paris: Mame-Seuil, 1968), pp. 39-50. 

3. D.H. Lawrence, Eros et les chiens, ed. Christian Bourgois (Paris, 1969) p. 195. 

Nomadic Thought 

1 . In Nietzsche aujourd'hui? tome 1: Lntensites (Paris: UGE, 10/18, 1973), pp. 159-174. For the 
discussion following, see pp. 185-187 and, pp. 189-190 (only those questions addressed to 
Deleuze have been retained). The conference "Nierzsche aujourd'hui?" took place in July 1972 
at the International Cultural Center in Cerisy-la-Salle. 

2. A high school student on the extreme left, injured by the police during a demonstration in 1971. 

3. Maurice Blanchot, L'Entretien infini (Paris: Gallimard, 1969), p. 227 ff. 

4. Franz Kafka, La Muraille de Chine et autres re'cits (Paris: Gallimard, 1950), pp. 96-96. 

5. Leo Strauss, De la Tyrannic followed by Kojeve, Tyrannie et sagesse (Paris: Gallimard, 1997). 

On Capitalism and Desire 

1. Editor's title. "Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari" in C'est Demain la veille, ed. Michel-Anroine 
Burnier (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1973), pp. 139-161. This interview was initially supposed to 
appear in the magazine Actuel, one of whose directors of publication was M.-A. Burnier. 

2. Pierre Victor was the pseudonym of Benny Levy, the one-time leader of rhe Proletarian Left 
(Gauche proletarienne), which was outlawed. Cf. Les Temps modernes, "Nouveau Fascisme, Nou- 
velle democratic" no. 310 bis, juin 1972, pp. 355 — 366. 

3. D. Guerin, La Revolution francaise et nous (Paris: F. Maspero, 1976). Cf. also, Lutte des classes 
sous la Premiere Republique: 1793 — 1797 (Vans: Gallimard, 1968). 

4. On George Jackson, see note 3 for "H.M.'s Letters." 

Five Propositions on Psychoanalysis 

1. Originally published in Italian. "Relazione di Gilles Deleuze" and discussions in Armando 
Verdiglione, ed., Psicanalisi e Politica; Atti del Convegno di studi tenuto a Milano 1'8 — 9 Maggio 1973. 
Milan: Feltrinelli, 1973, pp. 7-1 1, 17-21,37-40,44-45, 169-172. Abridged and edited. 



Faces and Surfaces 

1. With Stefan Czerkinsky and J. -J. Passera, in Faces et Surfaces (Paris: Editions Galerie Karl Flinker, 
1973). The occasion was the exhibition catalogue devoted to a young Polish artist whose work — 
monochrome compositions — remains unknown (the artist killed himself a little after the exhibit). 

2. Six drawings by Deleuze, reproduced in Chimeres, no. 21, were part of the exhibit. 

3. Concepts are not in your head: they are things, peoples, zones, regions, thresholds, gradients, 
temperatures, speeds, etc. 

4. The border-hole and rhe margin-border are the two units of painting, among other things. 
The one can be understood as the territorializarion of the other, such that the other is then the 
deterritorialization of the one. But all of this is reversed when you walk around to the other side. 

Preface to Hocquenshem's L'Apres-Mai des faunes 

1. "Preface" in Guy Hocquenghem, L'Apres-Mai desfaunes (Paris: Grasset, 1974) pp. 7-17. Guy 
Hocquenghem (1946-1988) was a writer and a member of FHAR (Front homosexuel d'action 
revolurionnaire / Homosexual Front of Revolutionary Acrion, created in 1970). He met Deleuze 
at the University of Vincennes, where Deleuze was teaching. 

2. Guy Hocquenghem, Le Desir homosexuel(PaAs: Editions Universitaires, coll. 'Psychorheque,' 

3. The Arcadie Club (1954-1982) was a group that formed around Andre Baudry, who believed 
that homosexuals should unite with discretion, "courage," and "dignity." On the right of the polit- 
ical spectrum, Baudry's group was opposed to the "scandalous" public demonstrations of FHAR. 

A Planter's Art 

1. In Deleuze, Faye, Roubaud, Touraineparlent de "Les Autres" — un film de Hugo Santiago, ecrit en 
collaboration avec Adolfo Bioy Casares and Jorge Luis Borges (Paris: Christian Bourgois, 1974). This 
is part of a brochure rhat was distributed at the door of the theatre Quartier Latin to defend and 
support Santiago's film, which had caused a scandal at the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. 


List of Translators 

Bergson, 1859-1941 

Translated by Christopher Bush 

How do We Recognize Structuralism? 

Translated by Melissa McMahon and Charles J. Stivale 

Hot and Cool 

Translated by Teal Eich 

Five Propositions on Psychoanalysis 

Translated by Alexander Hickox 



Abel, Niels Henrik, 306 

absolute knowledge, 16, 17 

actual, 11, 12, 28, 30, 44, 53, 55, 74, 94, 

96, 100, 101, 102, 110, 126, 129,142, 
168, 178, 180,256 
actuality, 28, 100, 178, 180 
actualization, 28, 42, 43, 50, 51, 101, 102, 

107, 111,113, 114, 179,180,189,200, 

actualize, 28, 30, 40, 42, 44, 51, 87, 94, 99, 

100, 101, 102, 108, 109, 111, 114, 115, 

179, 180, 181,248,287 
Aeschylus, 83 
affect, 23, 35, 36, 50, 88, 89, 98, 157, 166, 

184, 191 
affirmation, 30, 60, 120, 144, 150, 152, 157 
Albert, Henri, 129 
Algerian War, 78 
alienation, 91, 158, 160, 200, 227, 233, 241, 

Alquie, Ferdinand, 105, 300 
Althusser, Louis, 145, 170, 172, 173, 174, 

175, 178, 179, 181, 190,191,305,306, 

307, 308 
analogy, 65, 154, 170, 189, 304 
Analytic: of the Beautiful, 56, 60, 6 1 , 63, 64, 

66, 70; of the Sublime, 56, 61, 62, 63, 

Anaxagoras, 156, 159, 160, 183, 304 
Andler, Charles, 129 
apparatus, 40, 168, 196, 197, 199,210,211, 

260, 267, 268, 269, 270, 276, 280 
archeology, 91,92,93,259 

Arieti, Silvano, 237, 238 

Aristotle, 37, 95, 105, 114 

Arpaillanges, Pierre, 244, 310 

arrangement, 276, 283, 289 

Artaud, Antonin, 73, 98, 107, 232, 240, 299 

artificial, 55, 103, 167, 180 

assemblage, 197, 207, 243, 287, 288 

Asturias, Miguel Angel, 84, 290 

attribution, 158, 160, 163, 304 

Attila the Hun, 266 

attributes, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 


Axelos, Kostas, 75, 76, 156, 157, 158, 159, 
160, 161,299,304 

Bach (J.-S.), 60 

Bachelard, Gaston, 171, 180 

Bacon, Francis, 162 

Balibar, Etienne, 306, 308 

Barthes, Roland, 170 

Bataille, Georges, 156 

Battista, 84 

Baudry, Andre, 312 

Beaufret, Jean, 112, 119, 122, 126, 301 

Beckett, Samuel, 132, 141, 230, 261 

becoming, 18, 76, 86, 88, 89, 91, 104, 109, 
118, 121, 122, 124, 157, 159, 160, 164, 
191, 207, 238, 253, 258, 284, 288 

being, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 
30,32,35,37,39,40, 50,67,73,75,76, 
77, 79, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 106, 114, 
122, 124, 125,143, 146, 147, 149,150, 
151, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 189 

Ben Barka, Mehdi, 84 

Benichou, Pierre, 242, 243 

Bentham, Jeremy, 209 

Bergson, Henri, 22-51, 101, 105, 111, 138, 

139, 144, 292, 296 
Beria, Lavrenti, 216 
Berkeley, George, 106 
Bianquis, Genevieve, 129 
biology, 28, 39, 86, 88,91,92, 93, 104, 105, 

110, 111, 174 
Bioy Casares, Adolfo, 290, 312 
Birault, Henri, 119, 120, 125 
Bizet, Georges, 127 

Blanchot, Maurice, 157, 160, 255, 311 
body, 38, 44, 67, 88, 102, 109, 111, 120, 

132, 178, 194, 219, 222, 227, 231, 232, 

238, 241, 249, 253, 257, 261, 267, 272, 

282, 283, 307 
Bopp, Franz, 91,93 
La Borde Clinic, 202, 309 
Borges, Jorge Luis, 312 
Bosch, Hieronymous, 239 
Bouligand, Georges, 110, 300, 301 
Bourbaki, Nicolas, 176 
bourgeois, 12, 55, 78, 79, 80, 145, 196, 198, 

201, 207, 208, 210, 253, 254, 256, 264, 

267, 268, 276, 278 
Brecht, Bertolt, 305 
Breton, Stanlislas, 300, 301 
Brod, Max, 257 
Brunschvicg, Jacques, 302 
Burckhardt, Jacob Christoph, 118 
bureaucracy, 144, 145 
Burroughs, William, 285 
Butler, Samuel, 141 
calculus, 110, 168, 176 
Caldwell, Erskine, 84 
Campana, Dino, 240 
Camus, Albert, 77,175 
Canguilhem, George, 292 
capital, 12, 13, 53, 191, 196, 197, 233, 256, 

262, 263, 279 
capitalism, 12, 138, 179, 196,210,211,225, 

226, 227, 232, 233, 236, 262, 263, 265, 

267, 268, 270, 273, 276, 279 
Cardan, Paul, 195 
Carroll, Lewis, 186 
Castel, Robert, 276 
castration, 172, 194, 197, 218, 220, 223, 

228, 229, 273, 275, 276 

Castro, Fidel, 130 

Celine, Louis-Ferdinand, 52, 54, 297 

Chapsal, Madeleine, 131, 132, 133, 134,301 

Chase, James Hadley, 81, 84, 85 

Chatelet, Francois, 220, 229, 305, 310 

Chatelet, Noelle, 290 

Christianity, 79, 120, 264, 270, 271 

Cixous, Helene, 230, 231, 310 

Clastres, Pierre, 226, 310 

Clausewitz, Karl von, 158, 159 

cogito, 74, 92, 98 

collage, 141, 144 

collective agents of enunciation, 197, 199 

Colli, Giorgio, 117, 128, 135 

Colombel, Jeanette, 143, 144, 145, 302 

common sense, 60, 61, 64 

composite, 26, 27, 31, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 
42, 50 

concept, 16, 18, 22, 25, 30, 31, 33, 36, 39, 
41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 51, 56, 57, 59, 60, 
62, 67, 86, 88, 92, 93, 94, 96, 98, 99, 
101, 103, 104, 105, 107, 108, 110, 141, 
171, 176, 185, 195,221,224,235,237, 
238, 255, 256, 272, 281, 282, 298, 302, 
303, 305, 306, 307, 312 

conjunction, 158, 160, 163, 249 

consciousness, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16,20,22,33, 
41,47,79,81, 109, 110, 114, 119, 130, 
144, 194, 207, 208, 216, 244, 255, 258, 

contract, 19, 55, 133, 134, 167, 201, 202, 
242, 243, 253, 254, 255, 257, 259, 276 

Cooper, David, 276 

Couperin, Francois, 289, 290 

Cuvier, Georges, 91, 93 

Czerkinsky, Stefan, 281, 282, 283, 311 

Dadoun, Roger, 224, 226, 310 

Dally, Patrice, 289 

Darwin, Charles, 39 

Davis, Angela, 273 

Defert, Daniel, 310, 311 

degree, 26, 27, 29, 30, 3 1 , 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 
39, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 166, 
168, 169, 184, 186,231,238 

delirium, 73, 165, 166, 219, 229, 235, 262, 
263, 273, 275 

depth(s), 9, 10, 53, 88, 91, 97, 98, 101, 102, 
103, 104,108, 109, 112,119, 120, 121, 
126, 151, 171, 180, 195 



Descartes, Rene, 146, 147, 154, 155, 252 

desert, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,25,68,98, 130, 
190, 191,290 

Deshayes, Richard, 252 

desire, 49, 91, 92, 119, 122, 124, 125, 174, 
181, 194,195, 197, 198,199,200,201, 
203, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 
220, 222, 223, 224, 225, 228, 229, 231, 
232, 233, 239, 243, 263, 264, 265, 266, 
267, 268, 269, 274, 275, 280, 281, 284, 
285, 286, 287, 288 

desiring-machines, 218, 219, 221, 222, 228, 
232, 233, 239, 243, 267, 278 

dialectic, 16, 17, 25, 28, 38, 41, 42, 62, 79, 
88, 95, 105, 107, 115, 116, 129, 144, 
145, 158, 171, 179,215,286,287 

difference, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30- 
51,72, 73, 80, 87, 88,90, 91,97,99-100, 
101, 105, 108, 111, 114, 120, 122, 123, 
125, 126, 133, 142, 143,144,145, 150, 
153, 159, 169, 171, 180, 182, 186,201, 
202, 212, 222, 223, 224, 283, 292, 296 

difference of degree, 27, 34, 35, 37, 38 

difference of intensity, 37, 38, 122, 283 

difference of nature, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 
35, 37, 38, 42, 46, 50, 97, 99, 125, 126 

differenciation, 178, 180, 184 

differential, 87, 94, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 
109, 111, 114, 115, 145, 146, 147, 150, 
152, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 
183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 191, 

differentiation, 27, 28, 30, 31,33,39,40,41, 
43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 94, 96, 97, 99, 100, 
101, 102, 103, 107,110, 111, 113, 143, 
179, 180, 181,306 

disjunction, 66, 69, 158, 160, 249 

disparation, 87, 89 

Dimitrov, Georgi, 269 

distinct-obscure, 94, 103 

Domenach, Jean-Marie, 309 

Dostoievsky, Fyodor, 126 

Doyle, Conan, 82 

drama, 98, 99, 103, 107, 108, 141, 232, 257 

dramatization, 74, 94, 103, 104, 105, 107, 
108, 113, 114 

Duhamel, Marcel, 81, 84, 85, 300 

Dumezil, George, 180, 181 

Duras, Marguerite, 132 

duration, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 36, 
37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 
49, 50, 104, 111 

Duvert, Tony, 285 

egg, 11, 13, 14, 72, 88, 96, 105, 106, 214, 238 

Ehrmann, Jacques, 160, 304 

elan, 10, 11, 22, 27, 28, 30, 31, 36, 38, 39, 

Eluard, Dominique, 309 

empiricism, 15, 17,25,31,36,60, 141, 142, 
162, 163 

Engels, Friedrich, 53 

Enlightenment, 268 

environment, 97, 197, 200, 275 

epistemology, 100, 110, 170,220,221,236, 
239, 300, 301 

Ernst, Max, 141 

errancy, 75,7 6, 156, 157, 158, 159, 161 

escape (lines of), 65, 136, 222, 224, 236, 239, 
249, 257, 267, 268, 270, 272, 273, 277, 
279, 280, 286, 298 

eternal return, 117, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 
126, 127, 157 

etiology, 132, 140 

Euclid, 141 

events, 67, 73, 77, 93, 94, 96, 97, 100, 115, 
118, 125, 130, 140, 174, 191,287,308 

expression, 3, 18, 30, 34, 35, 38, 56, 57, 60, 
61,65,67,71,76,94, 102, 110, 118, 
125,141, 143, 149, 150,153,157,158, 
164, 180, 181, 184, 186, 191, 195, 105, 
107, 217, 228, 233, 234, 238, 239, 240, 
244, 266, 267, 269, 274, 275, 276, 306 

extension, 94, 96, 97, 99, 100, 102, 109, 
111, 115, 148, 152, 163, 165, 167, 
174, 175 

exteriority, 17, 18,21,25,33,40,45,46,88, 
89,163, 166, 191,204,214,220,231, 
255, 256, 257, 258, 267, 283 

factual lines, 33, 34, 38 

faculties, 32,41, 56-71, 165, 171 

false, 22, 24, 25, 35, 39, 67, 74, 76, 79, 83, 
85,92, 100, 118, 119, 135, 138, 139, 
145, 147, 165, 179, 209, 262 

fascism, 212, 216, 221, 229, 235, 245, 250, 


Faulkner, William, 81, 84 

Faure, Edgar, 266 

Faye, Jean-Pierre, 183, 186, 307, 308, 312 


Ferenczi, Sandor, 98 

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence, 143 

Fermi, 283 

Feuerbach, Ludwig, 137, 302 

FHAR (Front homosexuel d'action revolu- 

tionnaire), 284, 286, 287, 312 
Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, 61, 144, 147, 148, 

fiction, 147, 149, 151, 157, 162, 165, 166, 

167, 169, 178,230 
finite, 30, 91,92, 110, 137, 154 
Fink, Eugene, 160, 161,305 
fissure, 92, 156, 159, 160, 194,223,268 
Flecheux, Andre, 260, 261 
flight, 120, 199, 245 
flow, 123, 194,195, 199,215,219,220,223, 

224, 226, 227, 228, 229, 232, 239, 247, 

253, 254, 257, 261, 263, 266, 267, 268, 

270, 275, 285 
fluid, 65, 138 

flux, 39, 87, 122, 123,267,281 
fold, 48, 50, 63, 70, 77, 90, 92, 93, 96, 100, 

103,104,105, 113, 155, 163, 190, 193, 

202, 224 
Forster-Nietzsche, Elizabeth, 117, 128, 129 
Foucault, Michel, 72, 73, 79, 90, 91, 92, 93, 

118, 120, 126, 129, 125, 137, 170, 172, 

174, 175, 182, 186, 187, 189, 190, 191, 

200, 212, 234, 266, 261, 300, 301, 305, 

Fourier, Charles, 228, 287 

fragment, 75, 76, 128, 150, 157, 158, 159, 

160, 163, 195, 206,222 
Franco, E, 84, 273 
Frege, Gottlob, 186 
French Revolution, 131 
Freud, Sigmund, 45, 76, 115, 126, 129, 131, 

133,136,137,145,171,173,181, 195, 

201, 202,211,217, 221, 229,231,234, 
235, 252, 253, 254, 274, 275, 276, 277, 
278, 284, 285, 302, 305, 307, 309 

Fromanger, Gerard, 247, 250, 251, 311 

Gaboriau, Emile, 82 

Gaede, Edouard, 126 

Galois, Evariste, 306 

game, 75,76, 159, 160, 161, 172, 175, 186, 

212, 233, 241, 250, 272, 279, 290, 304, 

Gandillac, Maurice de, 107, 108, 112,300, 


Gast, Peter, 129 

Gatti, Armand, 79, 175 

Genet, Jean, 79, 245 

genius, 56, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 80, 81, 

82,84, 113, 139 
geography, 9, 10, 11, 12, 98, 213 
geometry, 26, 35, 49, 104, 141, 147, 148, 

149, 151, 154,302,307 
Genghis Khan, 260 

Giap, Vo Nguyen, 130 

Gide, Andre, 285, 288 

GIP (Group for Information on Prisons), 

Giraudoux, Jean, 12 

Glucksmann, Andre, 304 

God(s), 11, 12, 13, 14, 16,74,75,76, 102, 
109, 110, 112, 118, 120, 123, 137, 138, 
139,142, 147, 148,149, 150, 151,152, 
153,154, 155, 164,166,175, 180,186, 
190, 191, 200, 224, 238, 258, 302, 303 

Godard, Jean-Luc, 141, 255 

Goldbeck, Fred, 126, 127 

Gombrowicz, Witold, 79 

Goya, Francisco, 251 

Greco, El, 251 

Green, Andre, 185, 307 

Grimm, Jacob, 91 

Grlic, Danko, 126 

Guattari, Felix, 7, 193, 194, 195, 197, 198, 
199, 200, 201, 202, 216, 222, 224, 225, 
226, 227, 228, 229, 232, 233, 235, 237, 
239, 241, 264, 265, 266, 270, 271, 273, 

Guerin, Daniel, 268, 311 

Gueroult, Martial, 120, 146, 147, 148, 149, 

150, 151, 154, 155,302,303 
Guesde, Jules, 228 

Gunn, James, 85 

Hartmann, Eduard von, 309 

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 15, 16, 17, 

18,38,42,93,95, 106, 113, 114, 144, 

145, 158, 159, 179,228,252,258,277, 

287, 292 
Heidegger, Martin, 75, 77, 79, 157, 159, 

Heraclitus, 74, 122, 159, 160, 304 
Hesse, Hermann, 126 

heterogeneity, 26, 87, 97, 113, 150, 163, 214 
heterosexuality, 284, 286 



Himes, Chester, 85 

history, 18, 41, 47, 74, 84, 90, 92, 93, 118, 
126,129, 130, 145, 148,156, 160, 172, 
189, 195, 198, 200, 217, 218, 222, 225, 

227, 228, 235, 236, 257, 259, 263, 266, 

Hitler, Adolf, 84, 130, 268, 269 
Hobbes, Thomas, 81, 151 
Hocquenghem, Guy, 284, 285, 286, 287, 

Homer, 304 
homogeneity, 35, 101 
homosexuality, 213, 245, 246, 280, 284, 

285, 286, 287, 288, 312 
human nature, 46, 91, 164, 165, 166, 167, 

human sciences, 91, 92, 142, 200, 233, 236, 

Hume, David, 45,46, 95,138,139, 162, 163, 

164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 292, 305 
Husserl, Edmund, 77 

Hyppolite, Jean, 15, 16, 17, 18, 292, 305 
identity, 11, 15, 16, 18,25,40,41,77,90, 

91, 101, 118, 123, 124, 149, 152, 153, 

155, 158, 166, 185, 186, 187, 188, 190, 

191, 196,201,214,222,281 
ideology, 172, 175, 181, 191, 192, 195, 197, 

207, 210, 213, 217, 218, 220, 221, 225, 

228, 239, 263, 264, 265, 271, 272, 277 
image, 10, 28, 30, 45, 49, 86, 88, 92, 93, 

101, 109, 110, 111, 112, 119,138, 139, 
140,141, 144, 168,171, 172, 176,177, 
178,179, 181, 185, 187, 191, 194,214, 
215, 229, 236, 237, 248, 251, 265, 272 

image of thought, 92, 93, 135, 138, 139, 141 

imagination, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 46, 54, 56, 
57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 
67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 79, 105, 115, 148, 
164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 171, 172, 173, 
180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 298, 306 

imaginary, 11, 12,74, 84, 85, 148, 171, 172, 
173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 180, 182, 184, 
185, 191, 192, 197, 223, 224, 234, 235, 
256, 273, 305, 306 

imperialism, 138, 220, 225, 258, 259, 286 

impulse, 27, 239, 264 

individuation, 86, 87, 88, 89, 97, 98, 102, 
103, 137, 138,139, 140, 143,190, 191, 
222, 300 

infinite, 48,62, 91, 110, 122, 137,149, 151, 
152, 153, 154, 168, 223, 267, 303 

institution, 19, 20, 21, 78, 167, 195, 196, 
198, 200, 201, 202, 210, 211,218, 225, 
228, 236, 241, 253, 254, 255, 257, 259, 
271, 272, 274, 276, 278, 280, 309 

institutional psychotherapy, 201, 202, 241, 

intensity, 26, 34, 35, 37, 38, 38, 49, 50, 88, 
97, 104, 122, 168, 238, 257, 258, 283 

intensive, 87, 88, 97, 98, 102, 103, 108, 111, 
122, 123,238,239,257,287 

interiority, 23, 30, 88, 89, 163, 191, 214, 242, 
255, 256, 257, 258, 261, 283, 285, 290 

intuition, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 33, 35, 36, 
37, 41, 48, 59, 65, 67, 81, 99, 104,105, 

island, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,98 

Jackson, George, 245, 270, 277, 31 1 

Jaeger, Marcel, 195, 309 

Jakobson, Roman, 170, 178, 186, 306 

Jarry, Alfred, 74, 75, 76, 84, 161, 299 

Jaspers, Karl, 240 

Jaubert, Alain, 309 

Jervis, Giovanni, 278, 280 

jcy, 10,33,76,130,134,138, 144, 149,158, 

Joyce, James, 186,230,310 

judgment, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 
66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 78, 158,163, 304 

Julien, Pierre, 290 

Jung, Carl, 171, 180 

Kafka, Franz, 52, 77, 79, 132, 134, 229, 230, 
254, 256, 257, 259, 261, 297, 309, 311 

Kant, Immanuel, 15, 16, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 
60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 
71,93,99, 106, 114, 124, 138, 139, 
140, 141, 147, 149, 162, 165,297, 

Kefauver report, 84 

Kennedy, J. F., 247 

Klein, Melanie, 221,254 

Klossowski, Pierre, 79, 118, 122, 124, 129, 
132, 135, 256, 257, 258, 285 

knowledge, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 57, 59, 60, 
81, 88, 90, 91, 93, 98, 105, 109, 122, 
138,146, 147, 151, 152, 154, 155, 163, 
164, 166, 182, 207, 208, 234, 303, 308 

Koechlin, Charles, 1 57 


Kojeve, Alexandre, 228, 259 

Kruschev, Nikita, 216 

labor, 91, 178, 188, 196,202,204,214,218, 

227, 270 

Lacan, Jacques, 132, 137, 170, 172, 174, 
175, 178, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 
186, 187, 189, 190,202,222,224,228, 
234, 305, 307, 308, 309 

Laing, R. D., 202, 240, 245 

Lalande, Andre, 77 

Lamarck, Chevalier de, 93 

language, 17, 18,23,34,72,73,91,96, 104, 
105,110, 118, 135, 136, 140, 143, 144, 
150, 157, 160, 165, 173, 175, 176, 179, 
181, 186, 189, 195, 222, 235, 237, 239, 

254, 256, 260, 270, 286, 304, 306 
larval subject, 98, 102, 103, 107, 108, 113 
Lautman, Albert, 107 

law, 13, 19, 20, 28, 40, 55, 57, 58, 64, 65, 
82, 106, 109, 124, 137, 163, 165, 167, 
168, 169, 172, 181, 182, 184,200,201, 
202, 223, 228, 233, 241, 243, 253, 254, 

255, 257, 259, 272, 286 
Lawrence, D. H., 251,311 

leak, 194, 224, 254, 268, 270, 273, 279 

Leblanc, Maurice, 82, 300 

Leclaire, Serge, 178, 182,221,223,224,225, 

228, 229, 306, 307, 308, 310 
legislation, 55, 57, 58, 59,60,61,63,64,69, 

Leibniz, G. W., 18, 94, 96, 101, 102, 106, 

108,109, 111, 114, 115,155, 181,301, 

304, 307 
Leroi-Gourhan, Andre, 104 
Leroux, Gaston, 82 
Levi-Strauss, Claude, 79, 137, 170, 173, 174, 

175, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 

186, 187, 188, 190, 237, 305, 306, 307, 

Levy, Benny, 311 
Lewin, Kurt, 87 
Lewis, Jerry, 139 
liberation, 130, 134, 138, 145, 217, 229, 

266, 267, 286 
Liberation, 77, 78, 80, 129, 194, 211, 271 
lines, 12, 27, 28, 30, 33, 34, 38, 40, 77, 98, 

99, 103, 106, 109, 111, 112, 138, 159, 

174, 181, 185,188,199,208,215,255, 

270, 307 

literature, 12, 53, 72, 78, 81, 82, 84, 126, 
133, 137, 140, 187, 214, 224, 230, 253 
logos, 103, 108, 140, 158, 159, 218 
Lowith, Karl, 120, 124 
Lucretius, 138, 220 
Lukacs, Gyorgy, 159 
lunatic, 194,201,235 
Lyotard, Jean-Francois, 214, 215, 257, 258, 

260, 310 
Macherey, Pierre, 308 
machines, 72, 73, 74, 76, 137, 139, 199, 

200, 201, 202, 203, 218, 219, 220, 221, 

222, 223, 224, 226, 227, 228, 232, 233, 

237, 239, 241, 243, 247, 249, 254, 256, 

258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 265, 267, 

268, 269, 271, 273, 274, 275, 278, 279, 

280, 285 
machinic, 223, 238 
madness, 73, 92, 117, 118, 125, 126, 165, 

195, 200, 201, 202, 218, 233, 234, 240, 

243, 253, 254, 262 
Mai'mon, Salomon, 61, 114, 115 
Malebranche, Nicholas, 109, 148, 155, 200, 

302, 304 
Mallarme, Stephane, 187, 305 
Malraux, Andre, 81 

Maoists, 206, 207, 228, 265, 267, 273, 310 
Marcel, Gabriel, 127 
Marchetti, Vittorio, 232, 233, 235, 236, 237, 

239, 240, 310 
Marcuse, Herbert, 304 
Marx, Karl, 75, 126, 130, 136, 145, 157, 

159, 175, 179, 216, 227, 243, 252, 253, 

274, 276, 277, 287, 305 
Marxism, 75, 77, 136, 157, 158, 173, 178, 
212, 217, 227, 228, 253, 268, 276, 277, 

278, 287, 308 
masks, 72, 73, 114, 117, 118, 119, 125, 127, 

142, 145, 200, 209, 257, 287 
masochism, 131, 132, 133, 134, 145, 242, 

243, 264 
Massenet, Jules, 60 
mathematics, 93, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 

110, 176, 177,301,306 
Mauriac, Claude, 309 
Mauss, Marcel, 308 
May '68, 194, 202, 210, 216, 217, 221, 236, 

McLuhan, Marshall, 250, 311 



mechanism, 28, 39, 53, 73, 82, 131, 136, 
145, 156,157,180, 181, 197, 198,219, 
231, 232, 233, 239, 244, 262, 263, 
266, 267 

memory, 22, 23, 25, 28, 29, 31, 37, 38, 41, 
44, 45, 47, 48, 276, 277, 278 

Merleau-Ponty, Jacques, 111, 112,301 

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 77, 293 

metaphysics, 16, 25, 26, 34, 35, 50, 74, 75, 
82,91, 119, 159, 161, 181,287 

Meyerson, Emile, 77 

milieu, 19, 21, 206, 265, 274, 275 

Miller, Henry, 140 

Miller, Jacques-Alain, 181, 186,307,308 

modernity, 90, 92, 139, 158 

modes, 13, 28, 34, 44, 45, 66, 67, 85, 88, 
98, 103, 108, 117, 129, 141, 150, 151, 
153, 154, 157, 172, 178, 179, 181, 182, 
183, 188, 197, 200, 209, 227, 280, 
285, 289 

Montinari, Mazzino, 117, 128, 135 

Morand, Paul, 230 

Morgan, Lewis Henry, 227 

Mouloud, Noel, 104, 105, 300 

movement, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16,23,24,25, 
26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 37, 38, 39, 40, 48, 
49, 50, 78, 79, 81, 86, 89, 95, 97, 98, 
107, 108,111,113, 114,115,120, 121, 
122, 125,130,131, 156,158,160, 171, 
178, 195, 196, 197, 210, 213, 224, 231, 
239, 255, 256, 258, 259, 278, 281, 282, 
285, 290,307,310 

Mozart, W.A., 60, 141 

Mugler, Charles, 301 

multiplicity, 42, 96, 100, 104, 113, 116, 150, 
177, 179, 199, 207, 275, 303, 306 

music, 77, 127, 139, 140, 141, 158, 183, 
250, 252, 290 

Mussolini, 269 

myth, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14,98, 160, 161, 173, 
177, 194, 216, 217, 218, 230, 237, 242 

Nadeau, Maurice, 216, 219, 229, 310 

Nasser, 130 

Nazism, 128, 140, 216, 217 

negativity, 1 1, 19, 20, 33, 38, 39, 42, 49, 50, 
62, 66, 75, 88, 97, 121, 144, 145, 189, 
222, 223, 282 

Nerval, Gerard de, 103, 240 

Nietzsche, Friedrich, 74, 75, 78, 95, 108, 
112,113, 114,117, 119, 120,121,122, 

123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 
134, 135, 136, 137, 138,139, 140,141, 
190, 21 1, 240,252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 

257, 258, 259, 260, 262, 263, 277, 292, 

nihilism, 74, 120, 121, 158, 159, 160 

nomadic, 143, 145, 190, 227, 229, 252, 257, 

nouveau roman, 77 ', 141 

Novalis, Franco Angeli, 1 14 

nuance, 25, 28, 36, 42, 43, 44, 48, 51, 167 

obscure precursor, 97, 98 

one, 89, 123, 124, 190 

One-All, 158 

ontology, 15, 17, 18,89, 113, 114, 126, 136, 

order, 24, 26, 31, 35, 49, 64, 68, 78, 79, 87, 
90,92,96, 103, 105, 114, 137, 146, 
147,148,159, 172,173,174,177,183, 
186, 188, 189, 190, 195, 198, 199,201, 
207, 209, 214, 216, 234, 238, 239, 265, 
278, 279, 286, 287, 308 

organization, AG, 56, 88, 92, 96, 99, 103, 1 1 1 , 
165, 183, 197, 200, 201, 202, 219, 263, 
268, 284, 306 

Ortigues, Edmond, 181, 306 

Osier, Jean-Pierre, 137 

Ouryjean, 201,202, 309 

outside, 11, 15, 16, 23, 39, 42, 47, 88, 92, 
157,160, 163, 184,186,191, 193,204, 
220, 227, 229, 234, 252, 255, 256, 257, 

258, 259, 260, 285 
Pascal, Blaise, 76, 255 
Passera, J. -J., 311 
pataphysics, 75, 76, 161 
Pauli, Wolfgang, 283 

perception, 13, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 44, 45, 

48,49,88, 109, 173, 181,209 

Peyrefitte, Roger, 285, 288 

phallocentrism, 285, 286 

phantasm, 72, 132, 133, 196, 201, 281 

Philonenko, Alexis, 114, 115, 116,300,301 

Piero della Francesca, 251 

Pividal, Raphael, 220, 225, 228, 310 

Planchon, Roger, 289, 290 

planetary, 75, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161 

Plato, 16, 18,25,26,33,37,38,41,42,95, 
96, 104, 106, 114, 115, 116, 119, 140, 
149, 157, 159, 166,296,300 



play, 21,42, 59, 75, 120, 145, 156, 159, 160, 
161, 168, 171, 174, 175, 180, 191, 212, 

Pleven, Rene, 204, 205, 245, 309, 311 

Poe, Edgar Allen, 183, 184 

political, 20, 55, 78, 79, 84, 130, 131, 137, 

138, 140,142, 145, 158, 159,160, 163, 
167, 169,181, 191, 193, 194,195, 197, 
199, 200, 204, 206, 207, 210, 212, 216, 
220, 221, 225, 226, 228, 229, 230, 233, 
235, 236, 237, 239, 244, 245, 246, 251, 
253, 254, 255, 259, 263, 264, 265, 268, 
269, 271, 272, 273, 274, 276, 277, 278, 
279, 280, 285, 286, 297, 309, 312 

political economy, 91, 92, 195, 199, 228, 

276, 309 
Ponge, Francis, 55 
positivity, 19, 32, 42, 44, 49, 50, 64, 66, 91, 

95, 136, 139, 149, 167, 189, 222, 223, 

276, 277 
Pouillon, Jean, 180, 306 
Pound, Ezra, 156 

power, 15, 26, 27, 38, 39, 40, 47, 52, 53, 55, 
62,76, 78,79, 83, 85, 97, 99, 103,1 18, 
119, 122, 125, 130, 134, 138, 143, 144, 
152, 153, 155,160,165, 168, 198,205, 
210, 211, 213, 218, 221, 227, 228, 239, 
246, 263, 264, 265, 268, 269, 271, 276, 

277, 286, 290 

practice, 145, 162, 163, 169, 189, 191, 192, 

193, 198, 220, 260 
Prenant, Lucy, 109, 110, 300, 301 
prison, 73, 75, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 

210, 211, 213, 244, 245, 246, 267, 273, 

problematics, 17, 20, 22, 24, 26, 29, 32, 35, 

61, 66, 77, 88, 89, 104, 106, 132, 137, 

142, 147, 150, 152, 167, 181, 182, 183, 

187, 190, 237, 256, 264, 279, 306, 307 
Proclus, 113 
proletariat, 196, 197, 198, 213, 267, 269, 

Proust, Marcel, 95, 98, 101, 112, 134, 138, 

139, 140, 208, 285, 287, 288, 306 
psychoanalysis, 79, 92, 134, 142, 172, 187, 

189,193, 194,195, 196, 199,200,201, 
202, 212, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 
224, 225, 229, 232, 233, 234, 235, 239, 
242, 243, 253,254, 272, 274, 275, 276, 

quanta, 87, 104 

Quincy, Thomas de, 54, 297 

Ravaisson, E, 25, 43 

real, 12, 26, 33, 34, 37, 38, 41, 42, 44, 84, 

85, 101, 115, 120, 151, 171, 172, 173, 

181, 185, 191, 197,221,223,228 
reason, 3 1 , 35, 36, 57, 58, 59,60, 61 , 62, 63, 

64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 79, 82, 

99, 100, 109, 146, 147, 148, 151, 152, 

153, 181,200,243,259,262 
reasons ofbeing, 146, 147, 151 
reasons ofknowledge, 146, 147, 151, 152 
recollection, 29, 31, 35, 36, 44, 45, 47, 48, 

reBection, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 33, 55, 59, 65, 

82, 83, 86, 90, 92, 113, 156, 163, 168, 

173, 226, 227, 189 
Reich, Wilhelm, 193, 195, 212, 217, 276 
relay, 38, 147, 206, 207, 211, 260 
repetition, 13,45,46,47,54,72,73, 114, 

121, 123, 142, 144,265 
representation, 44, 63, 78, 80, 90, 91, 92, 93, 

96, 98, 99, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 

114, 115, 181,207,208,232,233,239, 

256, 257, 285 
revolution, 91, 131, 138, 140, 160, 191, 195, 

196,197, 233, 236, 251, 266, 267, 268, 

revolutionary, 131, 138, 141, 159, 193, 194, 

196,197, 198, 199,213,233,235,236, 

239, 250, 251, 253, 254, 256, 258, 266, 

268, 272, 273, 277, 278, 279, 280 
Ricardo, David, 91,93 
Ricceur, Paul, 175 
Rimbaud, Arthur, 74, 76, 125, 130, 139, 

Robbe-Grillet, Alain, 72, 83, 132 
Robinson, Lewis, 148, 302 
Rolland, Romain, 224 
Rose, Edith, 205, 309 
Rose, Pierre, 228,310 
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 52, 53, 54, 55, 297 
Roussel, Raymond, 72, 73, 187, 240, 306, 

Rovini, Robert, 129 
Russell, Bertrand, 163, 176 
Russian Revolution, 196 
Ruyer, Raymond, 101, 300 
Sabran, Gersende de, 126 



Sacher-Masoch, L., 131, 132, 133, 134, 138, 

Sade, Marquis de, 131, 132, 133 

sado-masochism (S&M), 131, 133,287,288 

Saint-Juste, 202 

same, 91, 101, 123, 124,287 

Santiago, Hugo, 290, 312 

Sartre, Jean-Paul, 77, 78, 79, 80, 206, 299, 

Saussure, Ferdinand, 170 

Schelling, F.W.J, von, 36, 50, 114 

schizoanalysis, 200, 221, 225, 226, 241, 278, 
279, 280 

schizophrenia, 156, 193, 202, 203, 214, 218, 
219, 224, 225, 226, 233, 234, 235, 236, 
237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 243, 245, 249, 
250, 266, 270, 273, 275, 278, 279, 280, 

Schloezer, Boris de, 122, 126, 127 

Schmelck, Robert, 204, 309 

Schoenberg, Arnold, 141 

Schopenhauer, Arthur, 114 

Schreber, Daniel Paul, 200, 229, 235, 275 

Schuhl, Pierre-Maxime, 103, 104, 300 

Schwob, Marcel, 54 

science, 9, 15, 23, 24, 25, 26, 34, 46, 49, 75, 
89,91,92,93, 104, 105, 106,107, 110, 
122, 140, 160, 162, 165, 169, 172,218, 
235, 236, 237, 239, 271 

self, 16,27,38, 89,92, 118, 123, 130, 137, 
138, 139, 142, 164, 166, 192, 195 

(non)sense, 15, 16, 17, 18, 38, 48, 60, 61, 
63,64, 65, 68,69, 75, 88, 95, 100,118, 
122, 134, 135, 136, 137,147,151, 166, 
167, 174, 175,186, 187, 192,193, 197, 
198, 200, 202,211,218, 232, 233, 241, 

series, 13, 21, 28, 30, 35, 40, 73, 82, 91, 97, 
98,99, 102, 109, 118, 122, 144, 147, 
148, 151, 152, 172, 182, 183, 184, 185, 
186, 187, 212, 222, 247, 248, 249, 283, 
289, 307, 308 

Shakespeare, William, 84, 140, 172 

signification, 88, 89, 90, 106, 113, 114, 115, 
120, 124, 136,173, 174, 175,176, 187, 

signs, 65, 72, 73, 82, 90, 93, 98, 118, 122, 
132, 139, 140, 158, 164, 171,214,271, 
279, 283, 308 

Simondon, Gilbert, 86, 87, 88, 89, 300 

simulacra, 165, 167, 248 

singularity, 68, 87, 88, 89, 99, 100, 101, 102, 
111, 115, 137,138, 139,140, 143,144, 
145, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 
188, 190, 191, 194,201,222,306 

Sodoma, 251 

Sollers, Philippe, 183, 186, 307, 308 

Sophocles, 82 

Souriau, Michel, 108, 109, 300, 301 

space, 22, 23, 25, 27, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 42, 
43, 46, 49, 50, 87, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 
94,96,98,99, 104, 107,108,109, 111, 
118, 143, 145,148,156, 157,159,163, 
174, 175, 177, 180,184, 188,189,190, 
290, 305 

spatio-temporal dynamism, 94, 96, 97, 98, 
99, 102, 111, 113, 114, 115 

specie, 19, 20, 21, 28, 30, 34, 38,39,41,94, 
96, 97, 99, 100, 102, 110, 167, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 182, 188,258,306 

speed, 25, 230, 231, 256, 298, 312 

Spinoza, Baruch, 138, 141, 143, 144, 146, 
147, 148, 149, 150,151, 152,153,154, 
290, 299, 302, 303 

spirit, 24, 67, 78, 80, 84, 103, 136, 137, 144, 

Stalin, Joseph, 216, 265, 268 

statements, 274, 275, 276 

Steinbeck, John, 84 

strata, 92, 172 

Strauss, Leo, 259, 311 

structuralism, 129, 137, 141, 146, 170, 171, 
172,173,174,175,176,180, 181, 183, 
184,186,187,188, 190,191, 192,227, 
305, 307 

subjectivity, 15, 68, 74, 78, 79, 174, 103, 

195, 198, 199, 202, 208 

substance, 25, 26, 37, 38, 96, 104, 110, 113, 
118, 137,148,149,150, 151,152, 153, 

substratum, 62, 92, 172 

Suetonius, 84 

sufficient reason, 35, 36, 99, 100, 109 

symptomology, 132, 133, 134, 140, 171,218 

synthetic, 16,65,79, 146, 147, 151, 154 

systems, 19, 21, 52, 56, 70, 71, 85, 87, 88, 
90, 91, 94, 97, 98, 102, 103, 104, 105, 
107, 108, 110, 111, 129,145,146,147, 


148,149,150,157,160,162, 167,168, 

170, 175, 177, 179, 180, 181, 185, 187, 
189, 190, 192, 194, 196, 207, 208, 209, 
210, 213, 217, 219, 226, 227, 229, 232, 
233, 234, 237, 239, 244, 245, 246, 247, 
249, 250, 254, 260, 262, 264, 265, 267, 
268, 270, 271, 273, 278, 279, 280, 283, 

symbolic, 67, 161, 171, 172, 173, 175, 176, 
177,178, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185, 186, 
187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 194, 218, 222, 
223, 224, 234, 235, 273, 286, 290, 304, 
305, 306 

Taat, Mieke, 261 

Tarde, Gabriel, 296 

Tati, Jacques, 139 

Teilhardde Chardon, P., 78, 156 

tendency, 19, 20, 21, 26, 28, 30, 35, 36, 37, 
38, 39,40,41,46, 55, 84,191, 269, 308 

theory, 10, 138, 162, 173, 178, 192, 199, 
200, 206, 207, 208, 211, 217, 220, 222, 
223, 230 

theology, 84, 144, 223, 262 

thought, 16, 17, 18, 22, 25, 48, 68, 74, 75, 
77, 79, 90, 92, 93, 98, 103, 105, 108, 
109, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 134, 
136,137,138,139, 140, 141,142,144, 
156,157, 158, 159, 160,163,171,172, 
181, 190, 221, 227, 237, 254, 255, 258, 

time, 12, 13, 14, 22, 24, 30, 34, 35, 37, 43, 
49, 55, 76, 94, 96, 98, 99, 104, 107, 
111, 121,123,129,139,156, 159, 163, 
180, 191,282,298,301,305 

topology, 88, 95, 106, 118, 121, 174 

Torrubia, Henri, 225, 310 

Tosquelles, Francois, 201, 309 

Trotsky, Leon, 195, 197, 198, 265, 309 

Trujillo, Rafael, 84, 130 

truth, 16, 22, 76, 77, 81, 82, 83, 98, 99, 106, 

171, 172, 190, 199,200,207,213,222, 

Turkus, 84 

typology, 95, 118, 121 

Ullmo,Jean, 110,300,301 

unconscious, 12, 20, 29, 53, 74, 79, 92, 108, 
114,115,126, 136,171,178,179,181, 
193, 194, 195,198,199,211,212,217, 

218, 219, 221, 223, 226, 228, 232, 233, 

263, 273, 274, 275, 276, 281, 282, 284, 

288, 307 
understanding, 15, 16, 34, 43, 46, 56, 57, 

58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 

68,69,70,71, 149,153,154, 164,166, 

167, 168, 171,302,303,304 
unities, 1 1, 23, 33, 36, 38, 42, 45, 49, 50, 52, 

56, 61, 62, 63, 67, 69, 76, 79, 84, 118, 


153,157,159,160, 171,186,193,201, 

210, 214, 237, 241, 259, 260, 264, 279, 

univocity, 154, 169 
untimely (the), 126, 129, 130, 139 
Varies, Jules, 139 
Van Gogh, Vincent, 240 
Vattimo, Gianni, 119, 126 
vector, 282, 283 
Velasquez, 186 
Vercors, 309 
Vian, Michele, 309 
Victor, Pierre, 267 

Vietnam, 130, 140, 159,213,272,279 
virtual, 24, 28, 29, 30, 34, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 

47,48,50, 100, 101, 102, 107, 110, 

178, 179, 180 
virtuality, 28, 30, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 47, 50, 

100, 110, 178, 179, 186,283 
Vuillemin, Jules, 306 
Wahl, Jean, 95, 103, 105, 108, 116, 118, 

120, 124, 256, 300 
war-machines, 199, 200, 254, 259, 260, 

Weierstrass, Karl, 176 
Weil, Simone, 78 
will to power, 117, 119, 120, 122, 123, 127, 

Williams, Charles, 85 
Winnicott, Donald, 254 
writing, 136, 141, 160, 169, 186, 212, 214, 

221, 226, 227, 230,231, 244, 253,254, 

255, 257, 260, 281 
zones, 101, 141,282,317 



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